Trump Opioid Plan’s Favoritism Toward Vivitrol Raises Eyebrows

President Trump’s recently announced opioid plan is drawing questions because it proposes treating all addicted federal inmates with Vivitrol – a non-generic drug manufactured by a single company – rather than allowing clinicians to select the form of medication-assisted treatment they think will work best in each particular case.

The latter is the approach apparently favored by Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Vivitrol is a monthly injection of naltrexone, which blocks the effects of opioids. Although it’s not clear why Vivitrol was favored, the manufacturer – Alkemes – has been promoting the drug heavily, including directly to judges in drug-court programs.

The plan would be a huge boost to the company, give that there are roughly 185,000 federal inmates and an enormous number of them have some form of substance abuse problem.

Some people prefer Vivitrol over other types of medication-assisted treatment, such as methadone or buprenorphine, because naltrexone is not itself an opioid and carries no potential for abuse. However, other types of treatment are favored by clinicians in some situations.

Source: STAT News. Click here for more information.