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Manchin from Kentucky and Shumlin from Vermont Condemn FDA approval of OxyContin for kids
Two very concerned politicians, from two of the country’s hardest-hit opioid-addiction states, Kentucky and Vermont, are calling the FDA’s recent approval of OxyContin for kids reckless, shameful, disgusting and outrageous.
“I am disgusted by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent decision to approve OxyContin for use for children as young as 11 years old,” Joe Manchin, the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, wrote in a letter to the FDA following the OxyContin decision. “The FDA should be absolutely ashamed of itself for this reckless act.”
And Peter Shumlin, the Democratic governor of Vermont, said the FDA is “recklessly making the problem worse with its decision to approve OxyContin for use by children as young as 11 years old.” Writing in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Shumlin said, “Now is the time for the FDA to be a partner in reducing — not expanding — the availability of these drugs. Instead, it is doing the exact opposite.”
Sen. Manchin’s lengthy letter to the Acting Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Stephen Ostroff, condemned the agency’s decision, calling it a “disconnect between the FDA approval process and the realities the deadly epidemic of prescription drug abuse are having on our communities.
“We have years of evidence that shows that drug use at an early age makes a child more likely to abuse drugs later in life. We don’t sell cigarettes or alcohol to minors, we should treat prescription drugs the same and protect our children from these harmful drugs,” Sen. Manchin added.
Gov. Shumlin’s piece in the NYTimes, titled OxyContin Is Not for Kids, said it’s true “that there are a small number of very ill children who may benefit from the extended-release nature of OxyContin, which allows for longer intervals between doses, the risks of approving this medication for kids are great. We know that teenagers are at a higher risk for addiction than adults because of their immature brain development. And we know that even if prescribed with the best of intentions, expanding the availability of these drugs in general has terrible consequences. It can lead to high rates of abuse, the use of other opioids such as heroin and, too often, death.
“It’s unfortunate but not all that surprising that the FDA is ignoring the risks of making OxyContin more widely available. Along with the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA lit the match that ignited the addiction crisis in this country when it approved OxyContin in the mid-1990s. The irrational exuberance with which painkillers were handed out following that approval is disturbing,” Gov. Shumlin added.
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