Trending News Today: Expired Prescription Drug Potency Equal to When First Manufactured

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Missouri will launch a prescription drug monitoring program that could be operating within a month, according to The New York Times. The order was signed by Gov Eric Greitens following a news conference at Express Scripts. Missouri is the last state to create a statewide program that tracks prescription drug scripts to combat the opioid epidemic. Although state lawmakers have considered several drug monitoring programs, the legislation has repeatedly failed. According to the NY Times, this is largely due to privacy concerns about keeping medical information in a database.

New findings show that expired prescription drugs are still as potent as they were when first manufactured, even years later. According to NPR, investigators ran tests on decades-old drugs, including some that are now defunct brands, such as the diet pills Obocell and Bamadex. The bottles contained 14 different compounds, including antihistamines, pain relievers, and stimulants. The authors noted that all the drugs tested were in their original sealed bottles. The results of the study showed that 12 of the 14 compounds were still as potent as when first manufactured, with some nearly 100% of their labeled concentrations.

Pregnant women in rural areas are more likely to have their deliveries induced or performed via Cesarean section, which increases complications. According to Reuters, hospitals across the United States are scaling back services, shutting their maternity wards, or closing for good. Recent data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program revealed that 119 rural hospitals have been shut down since 2005, with 80 of the closures occurring since 2010. Financially stressed rural hospitals that seek to save on insurance and staffing costs, often shut maternity departments first, according to health care experts. “It’s been a slow and steady decline,” Michael Topchik, national leader for the Chartis Center for Rural Health told Reuters. “It’s very expensive care to offer, especially when it’s lower volume.”