Every year, thousands of Americans overdose on prescription opioid painkillers like morphine, methadone, and oxycodone – which lead to thousands of consumer injuries and fatalities in the United States.
After years of issuing warnings about the prescription painkillers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it is taking its first step toward curbing this epidemic of overdoses by requiring drugmakers to fund training programs that target U.S. doctors who prescribe the painkillers.
The FDA says firms that sell the drugs must offer two to three hours of training to prescribers. However, the drug companies will not design the courses, but will be required to hand off that responsibility to companies that provide continuing education for health professionals- presumably to avoid conflict of interest issues.
The agency must approve the programs and they must be available by March 2013. FDA officials say they want drugmakers to provide training for at least 60 percent of drug prescribers within three years of launching the programs. In addition, the drug companies will be required to make safety brochures available to patients that explain the risks of the drugs.
When asked why it is not making this a requirement for all prescription drugs, FDA officials responded that to do so would require a new law by Congress.
In 2009, inappropriate use of opioid painkillers resulted in 425,000 emergency department visits and led to 15,600 deaths in the United States. Opioids are drugs that mimic the effects of natural narcotics.
The Florida Oxycontin attorneys at Farah & Farah laud this new action by the FDA which takes steps to improve patient safety. If you believe you or a loved has been harmed by a drug that has contains inappropriate side effects warning or is contaminated due to a manufacturing error, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us at (800) 533-3555. Our product liability lawyers can review your case and discuss your legal options.