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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

F.D.A. Shift on Painkillers Was Years in the Making

Narcotic pain killers have been the subject of concern and regulation by employers' and their insurance carriers nationally. The evolution of the FDA proposed action to regulate is revealed in today's post is shared from the NYTimes.com

When Heather Dougherty heard the news last week that the Food and Drug Administration had recommended tightening how doctors prescribed the most commonly used narcotic painkillers, she was overjoyed. Fourteen years earlier, her father, Dr. Ronald J. Dougherty, had filed a formal petition urging federal officials to crack down on the drugs.

Dr. Dougherty told officials in 1999 that more of the patients turning up at his clinic near Syracuse were addicted to legal narcotics like Vicodin and Lortab that contain the drug hydrocodone than to illegal narcotics like heroin.

Since then, narcotic painkillers, or opioids, have become the most frequently prescribed drugs in the United States and have set off a wave of misuse, abuse and addiction. Experts estimate that more than 100,000 people have died in the last decade from overdoses involving the drugs. For his part, Dr. Dougherty, who foresaw the problem, retired in 2007 and is now 81 and living in a nursing home.
“Too many lives have been ruined,” his daughter said.

The story behind the F.D.A.’s turnaround on the pain pills, last Thursday, involved a rare victory by lawmakers from states hard hit by prescription drug abuse over well-financed lobbyists for business and...
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