Trending News Today: FDA Requires New Warnings for Some Painkillers in Children

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

The University of California (UC) filed a complaint regarding a scheme that allegedly used information from more than 500 students enrolled in its systemwide Student Health Insurance Plan in order to allow physicians to write fraudulent prescriptions. The complaint was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that the scheme cost the university approximately $12 million. According to the Los Angeles Times, UC students were invited via social media or recruited at campus job fairs to participate in fake clinical trials. Students were asked to provide their health insurance information, which was then used to forge prescriptions that were paid for by the UC health system. University officials said they suspect the fraud began in the fall of 2016, which is when more than 600 prescriptions for 3 medications were prescribed by 1 physician in a single day. The university is seeking a temporary restraining order in the hopes of stopping the practice.

The FDA will require all prescription drugs containing codeine or tramadol to have warning labels against their use in children under 12 years of age or in women who are breast feeding. According to NPR, the agency also warned against the use of these drugs in individuals between the ages of 12 and 18 years who are obese or having breathing issues, such as lung disease or sleep apnea. The agency provided evidence that these drugs could cause dangerously slowed breathing in some children, which could result in death. The new warnings do not further restrict over the counter drugs that contain codeine, NPR reported.

The Cherokee Nation is suing the pharmaceutical industry for allegedly flooding Oklahoma communities with hundreds of millions of addictive pain medications, according to The Washington Post. A lawsuit was filed Thursday in tribal court, and is targeting 6 top drug distributors and pharmacies. The lawsuit alleges that the companies violated sovereign Cherokee laws by failing to prevent pain pills from entering the black market, and profiting from the opioid epidemic.