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 Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA issues proposal to limit sales of flavored e-cigs | Trump health chief gets grilling | Divisions emerge over House drug pricing bills | Dems launch investigation into short-term health plans Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief House Dems to push Pelosi for vote on bill that would allow federal funding of abortion MORE (D-Colo.), the chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee, and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Senate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison 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.