Drug Company Reacts to Massachusetts Governor’s Painkiller Restrictions

The company that makes the new painkiller Zohydro responded Wednesday to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s new restrictions around prescribing it. Critics — including the governor’s office — say the extended-release painkiller is easy to abuse and will likely exacerbate the state’s opiate addiction problem. But last week, a judge overturned the governor’s order that banned doctors from prescribing Zohydro. So instead Patrick is requiring that doctors complete a risk assessment on each patient before prescribing the drug. The doctors must also participate in a state drug monitoring program.

In a statement, the San-Diego based company Zogenix, which makes Zohydro, opposes the new restrictions. The company says the governor is unfairly singling out Zohydro even though, it claims, the drug has no greater risk of addiction than most other opiate painkillers. Zogenix also says the company is following all FDA labeling and training rules to make sure the drug is used safely.

Last month, Governor Patrick declared a public health state of emergency over the rise in heroin addiction, which often starts with opiate abuse.