FDA on Reducing Use of Prescription Painkillers


The proposal of the Food and Drug Administration that aims to reduce the abuse and misuse of pain medication such as OxyContin has been rejected by an advisory committee, according to a feature on The New York Times.

prescription pillsThe committee voted 25 to 10 against the plan. This advisory panel included doctors and pain experts, and one of the reasons for the rejection was that the panel felt that the plan lacked a stipulation requiring doctors to undergo training on the appropriate use of prescription narcotics. This rendered the plan as weak in terms of controlling the use of such drugs.

Drugs such as OxyContin, fentanyl and methadone are considered as important in pain management; however, these are the same drugs involved prescription drug abuse, and have also been linked to deaths due to overdose. It is for this reason that the FDA, as well as the drug industry, worked together to draw up a plan to reduce the misuse and abuse of these medications.

Dr. John K. Jenkins, director of the office of new drugs at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA, shared that the concern of the advisory panel lay in the “voluntary nature of the training requirements” for doctors.

It was said that the FDA had initially planned on stipulating mandatory training for those who intend to prescribe the drugs. The agency, however, was concerned about the fact that they only had the authority to require drug manufacturers to provide training. Another concern for the agency was that some doctors may choose to simply stop prescribing the drugs if they find mandatory trainings too tedious, thereby limiting the options of patients who may need them.

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