Thursday, August 29, 2013

Contrasts: Overdose Awareness Day and Doctors Who Still Don't Get It

Overdose Awareness Day is Saturday, August 31.  Events are scheduled all over the world to remember those who have fallen victim to drug overdoses and to try to prevent future human tragedy.  This is a day that should remind all of us that there are risks associated with opioids that must be dealt with in clinically responsible ways - or such human tragedy will find its way to your company, your claims organization, your desk. 

Contrast this forthcoming day or remembrance with a letter PRIUM received today from a treating physician with whom we were attempting to conduct a peer-to-peer conversation. 

Many of PRIUM's employees have inserted into the signature block of their emails the following quote of mine from a previous blog post "We must do everything we can to stop addiction before it starts, provide alternative non-pharmacological therapy whenever we can, and help safely wean those already addicted to medications that are doing more harm than good.  This won't be easy, and it won't be cheap, but we have to do it anyway." 

Today, I was handed a letter from a treating physician that read, in part: "The goal of the PRIUM review process is to force medication changes by the treating physician, whether or not those changes are in the best interest of the patient or the best judgment of the treating physician.  This policy, exemplified by the inflammatory mission statement on PRIUM's correspondence [and he quotes the above statement]."

Other than being a poor excuse to avoid what would have otherwise been a helpful peer to peer conversation, this doctor completely misses the point of my statement.  Not to mention that I made those comments at the end of a post about a young man that had overdosed on Adderall - a drug prescribed by his physician despite his physician's awareness of his addiction. 

I want to be perfectly clear on this point:  the quote does NOT say "we must do everything we can to stop an opioid prescription before it starts..."  Rather, it says "we must do everything we can to stop addiction before it starts."  PRIUM physicians routinely suggest that opioid medications be continued for patients exhibiting documented functional improvement along with reduction of pain.  And we'll continue to do so. 

We simply see too many instances in which opioids are being prescribed, dispensed, and potentially consumed without any clinical evidence that the drugs have any positive impact on the patient's quality of life and ability to function. 

So... I'll take time to reflect on Overdose Awareness Day about what we're currently doing and all the work that still needs to be done to mitigate the risks of prescription drug misuse and abuse.  And I'll hope that doctors like the one that wrote this letter will have the courage to engage, to listen, to learn.

On Twitter @PRIUM1

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Exciting News from PRIUM and Ameritox

This press release went out this morning.  Lots more to come, but our collective fight against prescription drug misuse and abuse got a lot stronger as of this morning...

Ameritox Acquisition of PRIUM Expands Suite of Services

BALTIMORE, Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameritox, the nation's leader in pain medication monitoring, is proud to announce the acquisition of PRIUM, a leading provider of medical cost management services currently serving the Workers' Compensation market.
"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to bring the unique capabilities of these two great companies together," said Ameritox CEO Scott Walton. "Employers are increasingly aware and concerned about the quality-of-life issues and financial ramifications that the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and misuse is having on their employees, particularly the injured worker. Just as Ameritox pioneered the market for prescription drug monitoring, PRIUM has pioneered a unique set of services on the medical management side of the equation."
Ameritox's mission is to help improve clinical care for patients while at the same time preventing the human tragedy associated with the misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. Similarly, PRIUM is focused on helping to reduce inappropriate use of prescription medications in the Workers' Compensation market, where more than 20% of claims include a prescription for narcotics such as pain medications.
"The proper use of prescription medication is central to each of our missions," said Michael Gavin, President of PRIUM. "By combining our expertise we can each have a greater impact on quality clinical care. PRIUM is an outstanding fit for Ameritox's expanding business portfolio and we look forward to broadening our services."
Both companies will continue to function as separate entities. Aiding the acquisition, Katten Muchin Rosenman provided legal advice to Ameritox. For PRIUM, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey acted as exclusive financial advisor and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP provided legal counsel.
About PRIUMPRIUM sets the industry standard for workers' compensation medical interventions through its ability to secure higher agreement rates and enforce modified treatment plans. The hallmark of the medical intervention company's success is a collaborative physician engagement process encompassing evidence-based medicine, clinical oversight, and jurisdictional guidelines to ensure optimal financial and clinical outcomes, particularly for patients on chronic opioid therapy. PRIUM eliminates unnecessary treatment through a comprehensive approach that includes complex medical interventions and utilization reviews. Based in Duluth, Ga., PRIUM can be reached at or 888-588-4964. For insight on workers' compensation medical issues, read PRIUM's blog at
About AmeritoxAmeritox is the nation's leader in Pain Medication Monitoring SolutionsSM, offering specialized laboratory testing and reporting services. Ameritox's expertise and innovative science provide physicians with the information and support they need to enhance and optimize the care of chronic pain patients. Monitoring through prescription drug testing can help physicians make more informed clinical decisions while also helping to reduce the possible risk of misuse, abuse or diversion of powerful medications. Ameritox is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. with laboratory facilities in Midland, Texas and Greensboro, N.C.Ameritox can be found online at, on Twitter @Ameritox, on Facebook at, and on YouTube at
© 2013 Ameritox Ltd. All rights reserved. Ameritox, Ameritox-Medication Monitoring Solutions, Rx Guardian, Rx Guardian INSIGHT and Rx Guardian CD are trademarks of Ameritox. Other trademarks are the property of their owners.

SOURCE Ameritox

On Twitter @PRIUM1