Side Effects Reporter Honored For Reporting With NPR On Opioid Addiction

Jun 7, 2018

Side Effects Public Media reporter Jake Harper was recognized by the National Institute for Health Care Management for his reporting on how a drugmaker pushed lawmakers and courts to take steps that would increase the use of one of the company's drugs. This meant alternative medications were restricted. 

Credit Kim Ryu / NPR

At the 24th annual NIHCM Research and Journalism Awards on June 5, Harper received honorable mention for the investigative reporting he did with NPR last year.  You can listen to Harper's stories below. 

A Drugmaker Tries To Cash In On The Opioid Epidemic, One State Law At A Time

To Grow Market Share, A Drugmaker Pitches Its Product To Judges

Harper uncovered that some Indiana courts only allow treatment for opioid addiction with Vivtrol, a non-opioid that blocks opioid receptors in the brain. This came at the urging of the company that makes the drug, Alkermes. This restricted medication choices for those who were in drug court programs.

"The judges applauded the 'great enterprise reporting' demonstrated by a solo reporter at a local public radio affiliate," according to a press release from the NIHCM.