Opioid epidemic

FDA blasts McKesson for not monitoring opioid shipments

A pile of oxycodone pills.
Oxycodone pills. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The FDA has sent a warning letter to McKesson, alleging the drug distributor broke federal law by not responding to notifications from pharmacies that drugs were tampered with while in McKesson's possession — including instances where oxycodone pills were stolen and replaced with "illegitimate" medications. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the alleged violations were "simply unacceptable."

Why it matters: Drug wholesalers like McKesson face a lot of legal liability for their role in the opioid epidemic, and now the FDA is threatening legal action if the companies don't prove they are rectifying their oversight of painkiller shipments. McKesson said it has been in touch with the FDA and is "in the process of providing additional procedural detail and documentation."

Study: Lowering prescription opioid misuse won't stop the opioid crisis

Jars of heroin and fentanyl
Vials of heroin and fentanyl. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Reducing prescription opioid misuse will only moderately lower the number of opioid overdose deaths over the next few years, a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.

By the numbers: The study projected that under the status quo, opioid overdose deaths would rise from 33,100 in 2015 to 81,700 in 2025. Between 2016 and 2025, 700,400 people will die from an opioid overdose, it estimates, and 80% of these deaths will be attributable to illicit opioids.

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