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New opioid approved despite mass torts claims against drugmakers

While many rely on the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before they consider a drug safe to use, some may be questioning the recent FDA approval of a new opioid painkiller. With dozens of mass torts claims in progress against pharmaceutical companies across the country, some believe the introduction of a new and potent opioid is a way for pharmaceutical companies to bring more trouble for themselves and more danger to the streets. More than 49,000 people in Tennessee and across the country died of opioid overdoses last year, and many states are fighting back with lawsuits.

The new drug is a tiny pill that dissolves instantly under the tongue to provide surgical patients a dose of sufentanil that is as powerful as 5 milligrams of morphine and up to 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. The drug company says it plans to make the pill available in medical settings and on the battlefield, and not in prescription form for the public. Critics say it is only a matter of time before these tiny pills hit the streets.

While one survey shows that doctors and nurses rarely divert narcotics, other studies show that hundreds of millions of opioids and other painkillers make their way from the health care industry into the hands of addicts. The FDA has said it will review its process for approving opioids to ensure no new drugs hit the market if existing drugs already meet that need. Currently, almost 400 opioids are available to the public.

The new opioid is meant to replace liquid morphine, which is difficult to measure without the risk of deadly error. Nevertheless, drug companies are feeling the heat from the growing number of mass torts claims that seek to hold pharmaceutical manufacturers responsible for the opioid crisis in Tennessee and throughout the nation. Those who suffer harm from opioids manufactured by irresponsible drug companies can seek the advice of an attorney for the best way to proceed in pursuing compensation.