New York Times reporter, author of an article in today’s paper about Washington State lawmakers and their efforts to regulate of prescription painkillers.
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration rejected an artificial hip manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. However, the company continued to sell the hip replacement in Europe and marketed a related model stateside. More than 90,000 patients worldwide used these faulty devices, and resulted in painful corrective surgery for many. In the wake of an August 2010 recall and thousands of lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson has lost at least $3 billion.
Today an FDA advisory panel meets with lawmakers to hammer out voluntary best practices for doctors who prescribe opiates. The regulation of opioid drugs like Oxycontin has loosened in recent years, as patient advocates asked for powerful narcotic painkillers for end-of-life care and cancer treatments. But in loosening restrictions for such cases, the FDA opened a window for wider prescriptions — and for abuse.