A national report has been released this week that accused health authorities and manufactures of being too lenient with overseeing the distribution of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl. Many of these accusations come from the report’s issued by the agency that claims doctors are overprescribing painkillers specifically fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a human-made opioid that is 100 times more powerful than morphine and is primarily sold on the black market. The drug has been deemed the most deadly drug in America after thousands of overdoes were reported.
However was initially made to be prescribed to patients with chronically ill diseases or cancer although was supposed to be under very tight restrictions, in the form of tablets, under the tongue sprays and patches. The goal was to treat severe pain that regular opioid could not help with.
However, the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association said this was not factual.
Experts from Johns Hopkins University conducted a recent investigation, found that the hundreds of people who had been given fentanyl, between a third and half of them should never be given the drug.
Experts claim that around one doctor in five did not know that fentanyl was only supposed to be handled by opioid-tolerant cancer patients. Because of this, it has been wrongly prescribed for unqualifying conditions like lower back pain or joint pain.
“The drug can kill you,” emphasized one of the head contributors of the stud, Caleb Alexander, co-director at the Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness located at Johns Hopkins. “There’s no question that individuals have died from inappropriate prescribing of these products,” he believes.
“The whole point of this program was to prevent exactly the use that commonly occurs,” he said of fentanyl which killed 70,000 people in the United States in 2016.
The current team of experts has fought tooth and nail for four and a half years to obtain 5,000 pages of documents on the fentanyl program from the FDA.
Doctors are currently allowed to legally prescribe a drug for a sickness other than the one it is made for although the primary role of the FDA is to regulate the laboratories that make the drugs, not the doctors.
Although as part of their responsibility, big manufacturers, “were supposed to monitor and potentially disenroll prescribers who violated the terms of the program. And yet not a single prescriber was identified and disenrolled,” stated Alexander.
A spokesperson from the FDA released a statement claiming that the agency has reviewed the concerns highlighted in the report. “The FDA will soon be sharing planned next steps … to make sure the program is working to mitigate the risks of these medicines and that they’re prescribed only to opioid-tolerant patients,” the FDA announced.