Allan Coukell is Pew’s senior director for health programs. He oversees initiatives related to drug and medical device innovation and safety, medical conflicts-of-interest, the pharmaceutical supply chain, pharmacy compounding, antibiotic resistance, prescription drug abuse, FDA, specialty drugs, food safety, school nutrition, as well as other efforts related to health costs and care delivery.
Prior to joining Pew, he practiced as a clinical pharmacist in oncology at the London Health Sciences Center and Ontario Regional Cancer Center, served as a senior medical writer and editor with the medical journal publisher Adis International, and covered health and science as a reporter and producer for WBUR (NPR) in Boston and Radio New Zealand. He is Vice Chair of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium and a board member of the Reagan Udall Foundation for the FDA. He served previously as consumer representative on the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of deaths from opioid overdoses continues to rise, reaching more than 33,000 in 2015, the highest number ever recorded. Opioids, which include prescription drugs and illicitly manufactured heroin and fentanyl, accounted for more than 63 percent of all drug-related overdoses that year. Read More
As the opioid crisis continues to ravage communities across the United States, policymakers and public health officials are increasingly using new tools such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)—state-based electronic databases that track the dispensing of certain controlled substances—to stem the misuse of prescription opioids and reduce overdose deaths. Read More
The prescription opioid epidemic poses major threats to the nation’s health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 19,000 people in the United States died from overdoses involving prescription opioids in 2014—a 16 percent increase from the previous year, and the highest number ever recorded. Read More