The Los Angeles Times (3/27, Girion, Glover, 692K) reports that, in a letter to the Food and Drug Adminstration, Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who heads the Drug Enforcement Administration's Office of Diversion Control, called for "federal regulators to impose tougher rules on the way pharmaceutical companies market narcotic painkillers to physicians, noting that such drugs are involved in more than twice as many deaths as heroin and cocaine combined." Rannazzisi urged the FDA "to adopt stricter limits on OxyContin, Vicodin and similar medications to 'safeguard the American public.'" Noting that "Rannazzisi sent his letter in support of a petition asking the FDA to rein in the use and misuse of the addictive drugs," the Times adds that "his endorsement came as a welcome surprise to advocates of the effort."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (3/27, Fauber, 221K) reports that Rannazzisi's letter is "the latest development in the complicated and contentious issue of how opioids are prescribed and marketed in America." The Journal Sentinel notes that, "if such a change were approved, it would make it more difficult for drug companies to market the drugs for chronic, noncancer pain." In addition to the labeling change, the Journal Sentinel notes that "the DEA and others also have sought tighter restrictions on opioid prescribing by asking the FDA to change the way opioids containing hydrocodone are categorized, what is known as a scheduling change."
The Hill (3/27, Wilson, 21K) also reports on the story on its "Regwatch" blog.
Schumer calls on FDA to require abuse deterrent technology on generic oxycodone. On its "Floor Action" blog, The Hill (3/27, Cox, 21K) reports that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) "urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require security features on generic versions of the addictive painkiller, Oxycodone." Although "Oxycodone will lose its patent protection" next month, the Hill notes that "the FDA has not required generic drug manufactures to include security measures used in Oxycodone to make it more difficult to abuse the drug through crushing and snorting the medication." Schumer "called on the FDA to specify which abuse deterrent technology is most effective and tell all pharmaceutical companies to use that standard."