Thursday, October 10, 2013

W.Va. senator slams FDA over alleged influence buying to stop tougher painkiller regulations

More than 6.1 million Americans abuse prescription pills, and the problem is most rampant in Central Appalachia, especially West Virginia, which leads the country in overdose deaths from prescription drug abuse with 28.9 deaths per every 100,000 people—a 605 percent increase since 1999, Mark Guarino reports for The Christian Science Monitor. Overall, U.S. deaths involving prescription pills have quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, according to a report released Monday by Trust for America’s Health. "Last year alone, there were 22,134 overdose deaths, with most of those deaths involving pharmaceutical drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone," Paul Nyden reports for the Charleston Gazette

Joe Manchin
Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin believes the government isn't doing enough to stop prescription drug abuse, Nyden writes. Manchin "said Wednesday that he would call for an investigation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after reports that drug companies paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get access to an FDA panel on painkillers." Manchin told Nyden he was "totally frustrated" trying to figure out how to get the federal government to regulate hydrocodones such as Vicodin and Lortab. He would like to see the FDA change hydrocodone from a Schedule III drug to a Schedule II drug, which would make it harder to prescribe. (Read more)

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