Cigna said its customers who are now using OxyContin for hospice care or cancer treatment will continue to have it covered through 2018.
"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", said Jon Maesner, Cigna's chief pharmacy officer. The company said the move is to reduce opioid abuse.
At the same time, Cigna announced a contract to continue covering a competing oxycodone alternative to OxyContin, which will impose a financial penalty on that drug's maker if too much of the drug ends up being used by the insurer's customers.
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"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". President Donald Trump has promised to give greater aid to those affected by addiction.
The insurer has signed a "value-based contract" with Collegium Pharmaceutical Inc for Xtampza ER, an extended-release oxycodone equivalent that can not be made more fast-acting through cutting or crushing.
Cigna said it will consider approving OxyContin if a customer's doctor finds it medically necessary.
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