“The Food and Drug Administration approved a powerful opioid Friday for use in health-care settings, rejecting criticism from some of its advisers that the drug would inevitably be diverted to illicit use and cause more overdose deaths.
The opioid is five to 10 times more potent than pharmaceutical fentanyl. A tiny pill that is just three millimeters in diameter, it is likely to worsen the nation’s drug crisis, according to critics and the head of the FDA’s advisory committee on painkillers.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued an unusual statement saying he would seek more authority for the agency to consider whether there are too many similar drugs on the market, which might allow the agency to turn down future applications for new opioid approvals.
The drug approved Friday is a 30-microgram pill form of sufentanil, a powerful, 34-year-old opioid commonly used after surgery and in emergency rooms. Each pill, placed under the tongue for quick absorption, would have the same impact as five milligrams of intravenous morphine. Each would come in a plastic applicator that looks like a syringe.
The drug is intended for use within health-care settings and perhaps on the battlefield. It would not be available in retail pharmacies.”
Source: WashingtonPost.com – November 2, 2018