February 04, 2016

Kaine Commends FDA Action Plan On Opioid Abuse And Misuse

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine commended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today for taking steps to address the prescription opioid epidemic in America – a crisis that claimed more lives in Virginia in 2014 than vehicle crashes. The FDA’s plan includes many initiatives Kaine has advocated for through legislation in the Senate, including expanding the use of advisory committees to ensure careful review of new opioid drugs and increasing access to the life-saving drug naloxone. The FDA also announced that it strongly supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for prescribing opioids for the treatment of pain, which will help increase access to better treatment methods and safer prescribing.  

“Just this week I was in Leesburg, Virginia discussing the harmful impacts of the opioid abuse epidemic with the Attorney-General and local officials, rehabilitation directors and community members. What’s abundantly clear is that this issue affects every zip code in Virginia and more needs to be done in order to save lives and get people the help they need to beat their addictions,” Kaine said. “I’m encouraged that the FDA is taking steps in the right direction. By expanding the use of advisory boards – something I called for last year – we can ensure that new and potentially dangerous opioids receive thorough scrutiny before they enter the marketplace. I look forward to seeing how the FDA plans to implement all of the initiatives it announced today and working with a bipartisan group of colleagues in the Senate to address the scourge of drug addiction and overuse in America.”

In 2015, Kaine introduced the FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act, bipartisan legislation that would make the FDA accountable for the approval of new opioid drugs and ensure experts’ voices are heard as new and potentially dangerous opioid medications are considered for approval. Kaine recently introduced the bipartisan Co-prescribing Saves Lives Act, a bill that would encourage physicians to co-prescribe the life-saving drug naloxone alongside opioid prescriptions and would make naloxone more widely available in federal health settings.

More information on the FDA’s action plan is available here.