As discussed in a previous post, the FDA recently approved Zohydro ER, a pure hydrocodone drug designed to treat moderate to severe chronic pain. This decision was controversial given that hydrocodone is already widely prescribed and abused, and that it went against the recommendations of the FDA’s expert panel.
Ramin explores the reasoning behind the FDA’s decision in her post for The New Yorker.
“…refusing to approve Zohydro ER because it is a dangerous opioid would require revisiting the approvals of all other opioids on the market. That would be expensive and time-consuming for the F.D.A. and pharmaceutical companies. It would also likely be unproductive, because previous efforts to limit access to these drugs have met with resistance from groups—some funded by the pharmaceutical industry—that point out, reasonably, that adults with chronic pain deserve to have their suffering mitigated as much as possible.
And yet, isn’t there something problematic about a system in which a new drug can be pinpointed as prone to abuse—but can pass muster because other drugs, equally hazardous, were approved?”