FLORIDA – For the first time ever, the FDA is asking a drug company to pull a pain reliever off the market because of its potential for wide-spread abuse.
The drug is a powerful opioid called “Opana ER.” It’s just one face of the nation’s spiraling opioid crisis as the death toll among Americans continues to skyrocket.
As the nation’s opioid epidemic rages, the FDA said the benefits of one pain reliever, Opana ER, no longer outweigh the risks. It’s called especially addictive as some abusers crush up the pills, boil and inject the opioids.
In Martin County, Florida, officers arrested 53 people connected to what police called an Opana drug den, littered with needles.
On the street Opana is also known as “ops” or “pandas.” As addicts share needles, HIV and Hepatitis rates have spiked.
“What we’re seeing now is the breakout of heroin and opioids into every community in our county and I would suspect every community in the UnitedStates.”
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the country. In 2015, 13,000 people died overdosing on heroin. Twenty thousand died from an overdose of pain relievers.
Now, the new FDA commissioner is taking the unprecedented step of calling on the manufacturer of Opana, Endo Pharmaceuticals, to pull it from the market.
“This is very clearly an epidemic of addiction. It may be one of the biggest health crises facing the country if not the biggest health crises facing the country right now.”
Endo says it’s reviewing the request, but disagrees with the FDA and insists Opana is effective when used as intended in appropriate patients.
“Taking comprehensive steps to minimize the potential misuse of its products.”