Sun, Mar 09, 2014 - Page 7 News List

New opioid stokes alarm in painkiller-addicted US

THE ‘KILL’ IN PAINKILLER:Senators are probing the FDA over claims that it was paid by the manufacturer to approve the potent new pill, which is easy to snort

AFP, WASHINGTON

“They are being overly prescribed. They end up in people’s medicine cabinets,” she said in an interview. “We have a huge crisis in our country.”

The Washington Post and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in October last year that hundreds of e-mails released in a public records request showed pharmaceutical companies paid tens of thousands of US dollars to attend FDA advisory panel meetings.

The administration has denied any impropriety, but US lawmakers have launched a probe into whether the payments influenced regulators’ decisions to approve drugs like Zohydro.

“If these allegations are true, there is a clear, illegal conflict of interest between the FDA and these pharmaceutical companies that puts consumer safety at risk,” Louisianan Senator David Vitter said in a letter to the agency last week.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has urged the US Department of Health and Human Services to override the FDA and remove Zohydro from the market until protections to prevent abuse are added, but that seems unlikely, as a Zogenix spokeswoman has said that the drug is already available in select US pharmacies.

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