Substance use and substance-use disorders have created a significant public health burden. In 2008, the number of deaths in the United States involving prescription opioids exceeded the aggregated number of deaths from heroin and cocaine. In 2016 more than 64,000 deaths in the US were related to drug overdose and the economic cost of the opioid epidemic in 2015 is estimated to $504.0 billion. The statistics leave no doubt, but they do not capture the full extent of the problem. Information indicates that tens of millions of Americans abuse prescription opioids, sedatives and stimulants and globally around 75 per cent of the burden of disease caused by drug-use disorders is associated with opioids. Meanwhile, the availability and access to scientific evidence-based treatment remains limited in many countries and only about 1 in 6 people worldwide suffering from drug-use disorders receives treatment.

Orexo’s key therapeutic area is within treatment of opioid dependence and ever since Zubsolv® was launched in the US, one of Orexo’s main objectives has been to make treatment available for more people. Multiple initiatives have been launched and are still maintained; RISE allows patients to choose from a selection of online tools and resources and build the plan they feel is most helpful to their recovery and the purpose of the REZOLV study is to inform physicians, payers and patients about factors that may have a positive effect on the treatment outcome. Furthermore, Orexo’s Out the Monster campaign counters stigmatization associated with opioid dependence and the Patients Savings Program helps patients afford medication through lower out-of-pocket costs. Through The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment Orexo also contributed to the increase in the number of patients that certified physicians are allowed to treat concurrently. As a result of the signing of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law in 2016 certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants are now also allowed to prescribe medication for opioid dependence treatment.

During 2017 the main target was to further improve Orexo’s chain of supply, in order to maintain an affordable choice for payers and patients. In addition to the Patients Savings Program, the market access agreements in the US for 2018 will give patients in the commercial segment greater access to treatment with Zubsolv, which means most patients can obtain treatment under their commercial insurance plans. The approval of Zubsolv in the EU in November 2017 also gives the prescribers in the EU increased ability to treat the estimated 1.3 million high-risk opioid users in Europe


1) Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals E/2016/75
2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes — United States, 2017
3) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2017
4) The Council of Economic Advisers, The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis
5) The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment (NAABT)
6) European Drug Report 2017: Trends and Developments