Health insurer Cigna announced this week it will stop covering the prescription opioid OxyContin in an effort to reduce inappropriate use of the drug. Instead it will cover an equivalent drug less vulnerable to being misused.
The alternate drug is Xtampza ER, made by Collegium Pharmaceutical Inc. Xtampza ER cannot be made more fast-acting through cutting or crushing, Cigna said.
The change will go into effect January 1, 2018, Reuters reports.
Patients who have started using OxyContin for hospice care or cancer treatments will continue to have the medication covered next year.
“Our focus is on helping customers get the most value from their medications – this means obtaining effective pain relief while also guarding against opioid misuse. We continually evaluate the clinical effectiveness, affordability and safety of all our covered medications as these characteristics can change over time, and we make adjustments that we believe will provide better overall value for those we serve,” Cigna Chief Pharmacy Officer Jon Maesner, Pharm.D. said in a news release.