Judge blocks Massachusetts ban on painkiller

by Steve Leblanc

A federal judge has blocked Massachusetts from banning the powerful new painkiller Zohydro.

The judge issued a Tuesday after pharmaceutical company, Zogenix, argued in a lawsuit that the ban issued by Gov. Deval Patrick in March is unconstitutional. The judge said Massachusetts appears to have overstepped its authority in banning a federally approved medication.

The state argued that Zohydro will exacerbate a drug overdose problem in Massachusetts because Zohydro can be easily crushed, then snorted or injected to create an immediate and potentially lethal high.

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws says the Massachusetts ban is believed to be the first attempt by a state to block a federally approved drug.

The San Diego-based drugmaker hailed the Tuesday ruling. Massachusetts officials are reviewing it.

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