BRADENTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is urging the Food and Drug Administration to adopt the recommendation of its expert advisory panel to place tighter controls on prescription painkillers that contain the active ingredient hydrocodone. The proposal reflects legislation Buchanan introduced in the last Congress to reschedule hydrocodone-based drugs, making them more difficult to prescribe and obtain.
“Prescription drug abuse is wreaking havoc on countless families and communities across our nation,” Buchanan and U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-MA, wrote a in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “This epidemic has reached such disastrous proportions that fatal drug overdoses now outnumber the total amount of traffic fatalities in this country. Products containing hydrocodone, such as Vicodin and Lortab, are fueling this epidemic.”
Last week, an FDA advisory panel voted 19-10 to place new restrictions on narcotic painkillers containing hydrocodone, including rescheduling hydrocodone combination medications from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug. The FDA is expected to review the recommendation in the coming months.
Buchanan’s Pill Mill Crackdown Act was endorsed by 58 members of Congress, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and key law enforcement groups. The bill is set to be re-introduced next week.
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