Dem chair asks FDA for documents on powerful new opioid

Democratic lawmakers are requesting documents from the Food and Drug Administration as they probe the agency’s controversial decision to approve a powerful new opioid.

Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteOvernight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking House passes Protecting America's Wilderness Act Vaping execs tell lawmakers that e-cigarettes are not meant for young people MORE (D-Colo.), the chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee, and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyMassachusetts Democrats question deployment of Border Patrol teams to sanctuary cities Overnight Energy: Controversial Trump adviser reportedly returning to EPA | Delta aims to be first carbon neutral airline | Dem senator gives EPA D-minus on 'forever chemicals' Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday wrote to the FDA asking for documents that the agency relied on in approving the new opioid.

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The approval of the drug, called Dsuvia, in November, was controversial because advocates and some lawmakers had warned against approving a powerful new opioid amid the epidemic of opioid overdoses.

Dsuvia is 10 times more powerful than fentanyl and 1,000 times more powerful than morphine.

DeGette and Markey expressed concern the drug could be abused, saying it can “deliver a potency that has been known to be lethal in small dosages.”

In November when announcing the approval of the drug, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb acknowledged its potential dangers but said it could be beneficial to the military.

He noted that the drug can be administered under the tongue, which could be helpful on the battlefield in situations where injecting a drug is difficult.  

“It fills a specific and important, but limited, unmet medical need in treating our nation’s soldiers on the battlefield,” Gottlieb said.