About Orexo

Orexo is a specialty pharmaceutical company that produces Zubsolv, a treatment for opioid dependence.

The Challenge

Zubsolv was not on the list of preferred drugs in Wisconsin’s Medicaid program to treat opioid dependence. While Zubsolv, a tablet, has comparable efficacy and safety for treating opioid addiction, the only drug on the preferred list was a product produced by Indivior, Suboxone sublingual film. Orexo wanted Zubsolv to be included on the list to treat opioid dependence.

Because of ethical barriers, it is extremely difficult to communicate with members of the Medicaid Pharmacy Prior Authorization Advisory Committee. In addition, adding a drug to treat opioid dependency to the preferred drug was going to lead to additional costs to the Medicaid program.

Approach

Orexo joined together with law enforcement to encourage the inclusion of a tablet alternative to the film treatment on the Medicaid preferred drug list to treat opioid dependence. Because the treatment options for opioid dependency have a street value, law enforcement witnessed firsthand the abuse of film treatments.

As policymakers were prioritizing next steps to address the growing opioid epidemic, Orexo and law enforcement met with decision-makers both in and out of the legislature to advocate for additional treatments on the preferred drug list. The effort included encouraging lawmakers and other interested parties to share their concerns about the abuse of film treatment and highlighting the need for alternative treatments on the preferred drug list. Law enforcement and legislators were secured to testify at the Medicaid Pharmacy Prior Authorization Advisory Committee. It is highly irregular to have participants outside of the medical field testify at those committee meetings.

These efforts were recognized by the department. Included in the meeting notes: “the Department received a fair amount of written and oral testimony for this drug class and that a primary goal of this class is to provide diversion from opiate use while members receive treatment for their opiate dependency. Though preferring an additional buprenorphine treatment results in increased costs for the State Medicaid program, increasing access to drugs in this class supports the Department’s effort to address the opioid epidemic.”

Results

The committee concluded there should be more preferred options for opioid dependency and included Zubsolv on the preferred drug list.

 

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