Important pharmacy news and late-breaking industry information updated daily.

New data on trends in opioid prescribing across the United States show that the amount of opioids prescribed decreased, but long-term prescriptions for opioids increased.

A new report from CDC highlights the need to expand HIV testing and treatment in the United States. The report also noted the importance of helping people with HIV take medicine and maintain viral suppression.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association on Sunday said low-dose aspirin should not be given on a routine basis for the purpose of preventing heart attacks and other heart disease in people aged 70 years and older or adults of any age who are at increased risk of bleeding.

Tramadol prescriptions among patients with osteoarthritis have been increasing since 2000. But a new study published March 12 in JAMA calls into question how safe tramadol really is for patients with osteoarthritis, whose main treatment goal is to control pain while avoiding therapeutic toxicity. Tramadol is thought to be a better alternative to NSAIDs and traditional opioids mostly because it has a lower risk of serious cardiovascular and gastrointestinal adverse effects.

CMS reports that it updated its Drug Spending Dashboards with data for 2017. The dashboards, first released in May 2018, add information on the manufacturers that are responsible for prices hikes and include pricing and spending data for thousands of drugs across Medicare Parts B and D and Medicaid.

When the popular blood pressure medication valsartan was pulled from pharmacy shelves late last summer, pharmacy staff at Dilworth Drug & Wellness Center in North Carolina reached out to patients taking the medication and notified them of the recall before it became national news.

FDA on Wednesday proposed to end current compliance policy as it applies to flavored electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products such as electronic cigarettes, and prioritize enforcement of such products offered for sale in ways that pose a greater risk for minors to access these tobacco products.

Following a number of recalls of generic valsartan products from several manufacturers, FDA approved on Tuesday a new generic of valsartan (Diovan) to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Approval of the new generic was given to Alkem Laboratories Ltd.

The U.S. Surgeon General wants naloxone to be in the hands of more people and has openly urged physicians to prescribe it. Now, federal agencies are following this lead with their own calls to action. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a recommendation for clinicians to coprescribe naloxone to high-risk patients. This includes, but is not limited to, patients who are on relatively high doses of opioids or take other medications along with opioids, as well as patients with opioid use disorder.

The Trump administration's budget requests $87.1 billion for HHS, a 12% decline from the estimated 2019 level. The budget provides $291 million to address HIV/AIDS, with $140 million for CDC to reduce new HIV infections. It also includes a new user fee on electronic cigarettes.