'Deadly' Painkiller's Maker Sues Over Prescription Ban

Massachusetts can't override FDA, drug firm says

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 8, 2014 2:19 AM CDT | Updated Apr 8, 2014 5:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Drug maker Zogenix is kicking back against attempts to ban a strong new painkiller that critics warn will kill people as soon as it is released. The firm has filed suit in Massachusetts in an attempt to block Gov. Deval Patrick's executive order banning doctors from prescribing Zohydro, reports the AP. Vermont has also moved to make it harder to prescribe the drug, which was approved by the FDA to treat severe pain last fall, but which officials fear could worsen the country's prescription drug problem and prove lethal for addicts.

Patrick says heroin and opioid addiction is a public health emergency in the state and Zohydro can be blocked until "adequate measures are in place to safeguard against the potential for diversion, overdose, and misuse," a ban Zogenix says is an "impermissible" attempt by the state to override the FDA and set its own drug policy. The company's chief executive says the painkiller was approved after an FDA review process that "serves the nation's public health needs, the medical community and those in severe chronic pain," and the agency's authority "should not be usurped by individual states," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick has declared opioid addiction a public health emergency.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
  (Shutterstock)
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