State asks US judge to uphold emergency ban on powerful painkiller, Zohydro

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A lawyer for Massachusetts urged a federal judge Monday to uphold the state’s emergency ban on Zohydro, a powerful, controversial painkiller, saying the state has the authority to regulate drugs coming into its market to confront a growing opiate addiction epidemic.

No other state is believed to have banned a drug that has already been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the federal regulatory agency, but Jo Ann Shotwell Kaplan argued that this is an unusual case in which the FDA has approved a drug that has been opposed by 29 states. The FDA’s own scientific advisory panel voted 11 to 2 against the drug’s approval.

“A majority of the state’s weighed in on this and said don’t approve this,” said Kaplan, an assistant attorney general, adding that, “for that combination of states to coalesce is fairly unusual.”

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