Opioid prescriptions hit 15 year low, as FDA’s Gottlieb reaffirms commitment against crisis

pharmafile | August 30, 2018 | News story | Medical Communications FDA, opioid crisis, prescriptions, scott gottleib 

The amount of opioids prescribed to patients in the United States has fallen to a 15 year low according to data released by the FDA.

With levels peaking between 2010 and 2012, the volume of opioids being prescribed is at its lowest point since 2003 as the number of opioid prescriptions has declined in recent years.

While doctors prescribed 74.1 tonnes of oral morphine equivalents in the first half of 2018, this number was down 16 percent in comparison with the number of opioids prescribed in the first six months of 2017 during which period 88.8 tons of oral morphine equivalents were prescribed.  

FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said in a statement: “These trends seem to suggest that the policy efforts that we’ve taken are working as providers, payers and patients are collectively reducing some of their use of prescription opioid analgesic drugs”

However the FDA commissioner warned that “the public health impact from these reductions in prescription opioid use could be offset by the rising availability of illicit opioids, and principally fentanyl, that’s coming into America. The growing use of fentanyl is contributing to a rise in overdose deaths.”

Gottlieb also detailed the federal agency’s efforts against websites that “enable the illegal sale of… [opioids] and their shipment through the mail” while noting the measures that have been introduced in the fight against addiction as he reiterated that “I made a commitment 17 months ago, when I first joined the FDA as the agency’s Commissioner, that we’d do everything in our scope to address this crisis. I’ve made this promise a cornerstone of my efforts at the agency, and a foundation of my obligation to Americans.”

Louis Goss

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