New York Senator Charles Schumer is warning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against approving new “super painkillers.” Four of these new drugs, which are currently being tested by pharmaceutical companies, contain a more powerful version of hydrocodone, one of the country’s most abused painkillers, the Associated Press reports.
Senator Schumer said he is concerned about the new drugs in light of recent violent robberies in two New York pharmacies 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 drug crisis, new super-drugs could well be on their way, flooding the market,” Senator Schumer said. “The FDA needs to grab the reins and slow down the stampede to introduce these powerful narcotics.” He said these new drugs would become very valuable on the black market.
The new drug is pure hydrocodone, and contains up to 10 times the amount found in Vicodin. Drugs currently on the market combine hydrocodone with nonaddictive painkillers such as acetaminophen.
One company, Zogenix, plans to apply to the Food and Drug Administration early this year to market its new drug, Zohydro. It is a timed-release drug designed to manage moderate to severe pain. Opponents of the drug say they are concerned the drug could be crushed to release an immediate, intense high.
Patients can refill current versions of hydrocodone up to five times. If the new hydrocodone medication is approved, patients will have to visit their doctor every time they need more.
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