Senator warns FDA on danger of newest painkillers

January 8, 2012 By MICHAEL GORMLEY , Associated Press

Following fatal shootings in two New York pharmacy robberies, a U.S. senator is warning that a new batch of "super painkillers" now under review could force repeats of recent violent robberies that left six people dead.

"It's tremendously concerning that at the same time policymakers and law enforcement professionals are waging a war on the growing prescription crisis, new super-drugs could well be on their way, flooding the market," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "The FDA needs to grab the reins and slow down the stampede to introduce these powerful narcotics."

A message seeking comment from the was not immediately returned Friday.

The Associated Press reported last month about addiction experts' fears over four drugs being tested that contain a more powerful version of one of the nation's most abused painkillers - hydrocodone.

Schumer is particularly concerned about legalizing the drugs for prescriptions because they would be prized commodities in the black market.

Experts say painkiller addiction has been driven partly by a loophole in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act that classified pure hydrocodone - a super painkiller - as a strictly controlled Schedule II drug. But the law put combination products, such as pills containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen, into the less strict Schedule III.

Because of the loophole, patients can refill a prescription for a hydrocodone-acetaminophen drug like Vicodin up to five times. A prescription for a similar oxycodone product, such as Percocet, can be filled only once. Critics say the loophole has flooded American medicine cabinets with hydrocodone.

In 1999, the and FDA began reviewing whether they should reschedule hydrocodone combination products. But an AP review of regulatory documents and court filings shows the agencies have repeatedly passed the rescheduling study back and forth, with no final decision made.

A New Year's Eve robbery at a Long Island pharmacy netted prescription and cash and left the robber and a federal agent dead. In June, four died in another Long Island pharmacy robbery in which 11,000 hydrocodone pills were stolen.

If the pure hydrocodone drugs are approved, Schumer wants a "robust post-market surveillance" of the drugs as they are marketed, advertised and sold.

Explore further: New powerful painkiller has abuse experts worried

shares

Related Stories

New powerful painkiller has abuse experts worried

December 26, 2011
Drug companies are working to develop a pure, more powerful version of the nation's second most-abused medicine, which has addiction experts worried that it could spur a new wave of abuse.

Research examines dentists' role in painkiller abuse

July 1, 2011
The Obama administration turned a bright spotlight on prescription painkiller abuse in April when the Office of National Drug Control Policy released a national action plan and a statement from Vice President Joe Biden. With ...

Recommended for you

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.