From the NY Times:
Addiction experts protested loudly when the Food and Drug Administration approved a powerful new opioid painkiller last month, saying that it would set off a wave of abuse much as OxyContin did when it first appeared.
An F.D.A. panel had earlier voted, 11 to 2, against approval of the drug, Zohydro, in part because unlike current versions of OxyContin, it is not made in a formulation designed to deter abuse.
Now a new issue is being raised about Zohydro. The drug will be manufactured by the same company, Alkermes, that makes a popular medication called Vivitrol, used to treat patients addicted to painkillers or alcohol.
In addition, the company provides financial support to a leading professional group that represents substance abuse experts, the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Hmm. Let’s see,
- they profit from a drug that will produce addiction;
- they profit from a drug to treat addiction;
- they manage to get their drug approved over a very lop-sided FDA panel objections;
- they fund the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM);
- they funded the publication of a portion of the ASAM Patient Placement Criteria, which is the dominant framework for treatment placement decisions;
- another of ASAM’s sponsors makes billions off of a medication with “near universal relapse” when they try to taper patients off it (It’s worth noting that the feds have also invested heavily in promoting Suboxone.);
- ASAM engages in advocacy for the products these companies produce;
- ASAM’s professional status and power places it in the position of conferring legitimacy and illegitimacy to treatments and policies;
- people who questions these treatments and policies are dismissed as crackpots who reject empiricism.
Who makes policy?
[hat tip: Love First]
- FDA ignores medical experts, approves painkiller (salon.com)
- Addiction Specialists Wary of New Painkiller (nytimes.com)
- Defying Medical Board, FDA Approves Painkiller That Could Be the Next Oxycontin (philosophers-stone.co.uk)
- “I’m a unicorn” (addictionandrecoverynews.wordpress.com)
- With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin (addictionandrecoverynews.wordpress.com)
- Defying Medical Board, FDA Approves Painkiller That Could Be the Next Oxycontin (motherjones.com)