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Madigan calls on HHS to overturn approval of pain killer

By Bryan Cohen | Mar 28, 2014

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Wednesday called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to overturn the recent approval of Zohydro ER by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Zohydro is a pure hydrocodone pill that is five to 10 times more potent than currently available products like Lortab or Vicodin.

While currently available hydrocodone products are prescribed in doses that range from five to 10 milligrams, Zohydro can be prescribed in pills ranging from 10 milligrams to 50 milligrams.

Zohydro also will lack any abuse-deterrent properties, allowing addicts to more easily snort, inject and crush the drug.

"The prescription drug abuse problem in our country has reached epidemic levels," Madigan said. "The FDA's decision to approve this form of Zohydro, if left to stand, could have disastrous-and potentially deadly-consequences."

In a letter sent Tuesday, Madigan joined attorneys general from Maine, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida and Indiana to ask Kathleen Sebelius, the HHS secretary, to reverse the FDA approval of the drug.

Despite an advisory committee voting 11-2 in opposition of Zohydro's release, the FDA approved the drug in October.

In November, Madigan joined 28 other attorneys general in asking the FDA to reconsider the approval.

Zohydro is set to hit the market this month.

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