The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wants to slash the production of opioid painkillers by 20% in 2018.
In an August 7, 2017 Federal Register notice, DEA proposed reducing the more commonly prescribed schedule II opioid painkillers, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine, codeine, meperidine and fentanyl, by 20% compared to 2017.
Demand for those painkillers has dropped, according to sales data obtained by DEA from IMS Health.
“Physicians, pharmacists, and patients must recognize the inherent risks of these powerful medications, especially for long-term use,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, in a statement from the agency. “More states are mandating use of prescription drug monitoring programs, which is good, and that has prompted a decrease in opioid prescriptions.”
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When Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, the quota system was intended to reduce or eliminate diversion from “legitimate channels of trade” by controlling the quantities of the basic ingredients needed for the manufacture of controlled substances, according to DEA.
“The purpose of quotas is to provide for an adequate and uninterrupted supply for legitimate medical need of schedule I and schedule II controlled substances, which have a high potential for abuse, while limiting the amounts available to prevent diversion,” DEA said.
Read more: DEA slashes opioid drug production