According to Reuters, Massachusetts officials have banned the sale of Zogenix’s recently approved painkiller Zohydro due to concerns that the drug can carry a high risk of addiction, abuse and overdose.
In a speech given on Thursday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency in regards to high rates of opioid abuse throughout his state and announced that Massachusetts is enacting a ban on Zohydro.
While Zogenix has criticized the state’s decision, calling it an “unprecedented action,” others have pointed out that gaining marketing approval from the FDA does not necessarily guarantee that a drug’s availability. For instance, experts cite that insurance companies are allowed to exclude medications from their formularies in favor of other drugs are considered more effective, less dangerous or more cost efficient.
In his speech, Governor Patrick called Zohydro “dangerously addictive” and said it would only be sold in his state once Zogenix develops an abuse-deterrent form of the powerful painkiller.
Zohydro was approved by the FDA last year, despite objections from its advisory panel which voiced concerns over the drugs high potential for abuse and overdose.
Since its approval, the drug has attracted unfavorable attention from members of Congress, state attorney generals, treatment experts and medical group who all seek to block the drug from the mass market.
The primary concern with the drug is that, unlike other opioids, Zohydro is developed for long-term use and the treatment of chronic pain. The release of the drug comes as the U.S. struggles to overcome high rates of opioid addiction – a type of drug that includes both prescription painkillers and heroin.