Governor Wolf Encourages FDA to Expand Access and Development of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids

October 04, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Today Governor Wolf sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration encouraging them to expand access to and development of abuse-deterrent opioids.

“I am writing today in support of the Food and Drug Administration expanding access to and development of opioids with abuse-deterrent formulations,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Pennsylvania, and indeed the nation, is experiencing an unprecedented opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. When I became Governor, I made it a top priority of my administration to fight the epidemic by focusing our efforts across the whole spectrum of issues – education, prevention, treatment, and criminal justice reform.”

Specifically, Governor Wolf encouraged the FDA to expedite the approval of generic forms of these formulations, which will assist in making these drugs more affordable to the individuals who need them most. More accessibility and increasing research will enable a higher volume of medical professionals to find safer, more effective alternatives to current pain management drugs.

Republican Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker wrote a similar letter earlier this year.

Last week in his joint address, Governor Wolf called for insurance companies to be required to cover abuse deterrent opioids. This will make it more difficult to abuse prescription drugs. While many people become addicted by simply swallowing pills, others crush pills to snort or smoke. Drug manufacturers are rapidly developing new technologies to prevent this kind of abuse. Deterrent measures can be important tools against intentional or unintentional abuse or overdoses.

“These deterrent measures, if crafted properly, can be important tools against intentional or unintentional abuse or overdoses,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

“We should provide doctors with as many tools as we can to curb the number of dangerous prescription drugs being released to the public,” said Representative Doyle Heffley. “Giving doctors and patients the choice to use abuse-deterrent opioids will benefit Pennsylvanians and potentially reduce the number of overdoses in our communities.”

HB1698 sponsored by Rep. Heffley would require health insurance plans and carriers to provide access to abuse-deterrent opioids. This bill passed the House (190-3) and has been referred to Senate Banking and Insurance.

The full letter can be viewed below:

10.4.16 Gov. Wolf Letter to FDA by Governor Tom Wolf on Scribd

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