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Thursday, September 25, 2014

FedUp! Calls for FDA Head Resignation

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The prescription opioid addiction epidemic and the consequent rise of overdose death rates in the United States have led to public outrage. The brunt of criticism has been directed towards the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to its lack of or late response to the problem. What’s more, the FDA continues to approve new opioid medications, like Zohydro ER (pure hydrocodone), despite warnings from doctors that such drugs would only add to the problem.

A coalition of doctors, addiction specialists, and family members who have lost loved ones have joined forces; the group is demanding that the head of the FDA, Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, resign from her position, The Washington Post reports.

The group of activists, known as FedUp!, states that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has hindered more than helped the opioid overdose epidemic. FedUp! is planning a rally on Sunday, September 28th in Washington, D.C. with the hope of making more people aware of what they call “a slow and tragically ineffective federal response” to the “worst drug addiction epidemic in our nation’s history.”

“We have come to believe that without new leadership at FDA the opioid crisis will continue unabated,” the group wrote this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “We are especially frustrated by the [FDA’s] continued approval of new, dangerous, high-dose opioid analgesics that are fueling high rates of addiction and overdose deaths.”

In a statement, the FDA stated that Hamburg has been a “tireless public health advocate” for more than two decades and “is committed to continuing to champion the rights of patients.” The FDA claims that ensuring pain sufferers have access to appropriate medications and preventing opioid abuse are “both top public health priorities for the FDA.”

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