Malvern-Based Drug Maker Endo Pulls Opioid from Market Because of Abuse

Opana ER is the first opioid the FDA pushed to have removed from the market because of abuse

Endo, the maker of painkiller Opana ER, is pulling the drug off the market at the request of federal regulators because of abuse.

The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical company said Thursday it will voluntarily stop selling the pills, approved for use in patients with severe, constant pain, after consulting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The company says the extended-release opioid is safe and effective when used as intended.

Last month, the FDA said it had concluded the drug is too risky. The agency said it had seen a "significant shift" from people crushing and snorting the pill to get high to injecting it instead.

It's the first drug that the FDA has sought to remove from the market due to abuse.

The opioid crisis continues to grow across the United States with drug overdose deaths hitting new highs. More than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2015, the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year in Philadelphia, three-times the number of people died from drug overdoes than homicides.

Increased attention has been paid to legal painkillers and doctor's prescribing practices as a way to stem the tide of death during this epidemic. The CDC found prescriptions for opioids have dropped from a record number in 2010, but that too many highly-addictive opioids are doled out to patients.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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