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Sen. Joe Manchin Wants Painkiller Approval Overturned

Update Date: Mar 11, 2014 10:01 AM EDT
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Despite more and more concerns over prescription drug abuse, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new pain drug called Zohydro that has been raising concerns. In reaction to this potentially dangerous drug, Senator Joe Manchin has urged government health officials to overturn the approval.

The drug in question, Zohydro, is a single-ingredient hydrocodone drug approved for people suffering from chronic pain. It is the first ever single-ingredient drug to be approved by the FDA. The approval last October shocked many after the agency's own panel of advisors recommended against it. Since the drug only contains one-ingredient, its effects are stronger than more traditional combination painkillers.

Over the past few years, health officials and experts have created programs to increase awareness of prescription drug abuse. These programs aim to encourage doctors to write fewer prescriptions, such as narcotic painkillers and opioids, and educate patients on taking medications according to the label.

Out of concern for the potential negative effect that Zohyrdo could have on the nation's prescription drug abuse situation, the Democrat from West Virginia drafted a letter asking the federal agency to reverse its approval. Manchin is the second senator to pen a letter of concern after New York Democrat Charles Schumer sent one about the drug last week. Manchin now joins the efforts of lawmakers, state prosecutors and medical groups that have also been pushing for the removal of Zohyrdo on the market.

"Given the potentially imminent release of Zohydro later this month, it is imperative that you act as soon as possible to keep this dangerous drug off the market," Manchin wrote according to The Hill.

Manchin added, "This is not the first letter you've received on this topic, and the FDA has been urged many times to overturn their approval. Senators and congressmen from both parties have written several times demanding an explanation for the FDA's head-scratching approval and requesting your intervention."

Concerns are being directed to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius who oversees the FDA.

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