Over the Counter
Prescription drugs had the last laugh on the Joker. As Batman: The Dark Night continues to produce record-breaking numbers at the box office, Oscar-nominated actor Heath Ledger isn’t around to see what could eventually result in a post-humous Academy Award win for his Joker role.
In late January 2008, Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment as a result of a drug overdose—but not from the stereotypical Hollywood indulgences in illicit drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. Instead, an accidental overdose of six different prescription drugs, including narcotic pain killers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications, led the 28-year-old actor to his untimely death.
While Ledger’s passing received national media coverage, millions of similar prescription drug abuse-related deaths fly under the radar. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poisoning from prescription drugs has become the second-largest cause behind unintentional deaths in the United States, prompting State, Local and Federal agencies to get involved as seen with the new Medicaid prescription laws. Nevertheless, ensuring state compliance to these laws is just one of the major trends in the healthcare industry, which shows the struggling economy hasn’t slowed down at least one fast-paced sector. As a result, suppliers and distributors handing out their own product- or solutions-based “prescriptions” can find hefty profits. Heavy hitters like Dayton, Ohio-based Wilmer and Fort Scott, Kansas-based Ward/Kraft weighed in on some of the precautionary measures taken to capitalize on the latest medical trends burning up the scene.
Can I Have My Remedy?
There’s no escaping it. One of the major trends in the healthcare industry is the Medicaid Tamper Resistant Prescription Law. Even though many Americans ingest pills legitimately, there are thousands more who obtain fraudulent and counterfeit prescriptions. Effective in April 2008, the law applies to written prescriptions for covered outpatient drugs, whenever Medicaid pays any portion of the cost of a prescription. Alternatives to written prescriptions, such as those transmitted from the prescriber to the pharmacist via fax, verbally or through an e-prescription are not affected. To date, the law mandates prescription pads contain tamper-resistant features that accomplish at least one of three tasks: