Despite X-Waiver Elimination, Buprenorphine Rx Decline

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A new study shows that after the elimination of mandatory training for prescribing buprenorphine for opioid use disorder, prescriptions for the drug decreased, but total doses and Medicaid payments increased. The study compared 2020 and 2021 data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services State Drug Utilization Data, finding a 3.1% decrease in the total number of prescriptions, a 3.2% increase in total doses, and a 10.6% increase in Medicaid payments. The researchers suggest that the removal of the training requirement alone is not enough to increase access to buprenorphine, and that there is a need to address the gap between the number of patients with opioid use disorder and those receiving treatment.

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