March 2018 Newsletter
Prepared by Van Scoyoc Associates
WHITE HOUSE OPIOID SUMMIT
DOJ ASKS DEA TO RETHINK OPIOID MANUFACTURING QUOTAS
On March 1, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to consider amending its regulations on manufacturing quotas for schedule I and schedule II substances, including prescription opioids. Read more here.
AZAR: NO SUCH THING AS MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Appearing at a press conference in Ohio on March 2, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, said there really is no such thing as medical marijuana in response to a question about alternatives to prescription opioids. Read more here.
CDC REPORT SHOWS OPIOID CRISIS WORSENING
On March 6, Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat said the opioid abuse crisis is worsening, pointing to new emergency room data showing a sharp uptick in opioid overdoses across the country. Read more here.
HEARING ON OPIOID CRISIS AND STATES
On March 8, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled, “The Opioid Crisis: Leadership and Innovation in the States.” Read more here.
JAMA STUDY ON TREATING CHRONIC PAIN
A recent JAMA study suggests that drugs like Tylenol often are better than opioids like oxycodone for some cases of chronic pain. Read more here.
OPIOID QUOTA REFORM BILL
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation on March 12 that would direct the DEA to consider opioid abuse and overdoses when determining a production quota. Read more here.
FDA PATIENT FOCUSED DRUG DEVELOPMENT MEETING
On March 13, the FDA announced that they will hold a public meeting on April 17 on Patient-Focused Drug Development for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), in collaboration with National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Read more here.
MAXIMUM NICOTINE LEVEL FOR CIGARETTES
The FDA is weighing whether to set a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes for the first time to make them less addictive and is seeking public feedback ahead of issuing a proposed rule. Read more here.
TRUMP OPIOID PLAN
On March 19, President Trump announced his plan to combat the opioid crisis. Read more here.
FDA PROPOSED RULE ON TOBACCO FLAVORS
The FDA wants to collect comments, research and other information about how flavored tobacco products attract kids or might help adults quit, the agency said in a proposed rule on March 20. Read more here.
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AGAINST DRUG TRAFFICKERS
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to U.S. attorneys on March 21 telling federal prosecutors to pursue capital punishment against drug traffickers and in other appropriate cases. Read more here.
ENERGY AND COMMERCE HEARINGS ON OPIOID EPIDEMIC
On March 21-22, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a 2-day hearing that included 19 witnesses and covered 25 public health bills that address the opioid misuse and overdose epidemic. Read more here.
FY18 OMNIBUS SIGNED INTO LAW WITH NIH BOOST
On March 25, the omnibus spending bill to fund federal discretionary spending programs through FY 2018, including a $3 billion increase for NIH, was signed into law. Read more here.
CDC STUDY ON OVERDOSE DEATHS INVOLVING OPIOIDS
According to a new CDC study, two-thirds of the nation’s 63,000-plus overdose deaths in 2016 involved opioids. Read more here.
BILLS INTRODUCED TO ADDRESS OPIOID CRISIS
On March 26, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released two draft bills to improve the FDA’s ability to address the opioid crisis. Read more here.
LEGISLATION ON HEMP RECLASSIFICATION ANNOUNCED
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced legislation on March 26 that would remove hemp from a list of controlled substances and make it an agricultural commodity. Read more here.