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FDA NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2009

Media Inquiries:
Rita Chappelle, 301-796-4672,
Christopher Kelly, 301-796-4676
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA


FDA Acts to Halt Marketing of Certain Unapproved Prescription Narcotic Drugs
Patients Still Have Access to Approved Narcotics for Pain Relief

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned nine companies to stop manufacturing 14 unapproved narcotic drugs that are marketed in several dosage forms and are widely used to treat pain.

The FDA's warning letters notified the companies they may be subject to enforcement action if they do not stop manufacturing and distributing prescription unapproved products that include high concentrate morphine sulfate oral solutions and immediate release tablets containing morphine sulfate, hydromorphone or oxycodone. This action does not include oxycodone capsules.

Those companies receiving warning letters are Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane, Inc., Columbus, Ohio; Cody Laboratories, Inc., Cody, Wyoming; Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mahwah, N.J.; Lannett Company, Inc., Philadelphia; Lehigh Valley Technologies, Inc., Allentown, Pa.; Mallinckrodt Inc. Pharmaceuticals Group, St. Louis; Physicians Total Care Inc., Tulsa, Okla.; Roxane Laboratories Inc., Columbus, Ohio; and Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals Inc., Newport, Ky.

The warning letters are part of the FDA's initiative on marketed unapproved drugs announced in June 2006. At that time, the agency published a compliance policy guide describing its risk-based enforcement approach against illegally marketed unapproved drugs.

"Consumers have a right to expect that their drugs meet the FDA's safety and effectiveness standards," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). "Doctors and patients are often unaware that not all drugs on the market are backed by FDA approval. It is a high priority for the FDA to remove these products from the market because they may be unsafe, ineffective, inappropriately labeled, or of poor quality."

Consumers who rely on narcotics for pain relief continue to have access to narcotic products that the agency has evaluated and determined to be safe and effective. The FDA has determined that removal of the unapproved narcotic products will not create a shortage for consumers.

Consumers who may be concerned that they are taking any of these products should refer to the FDA's Unapproved Drugs Web page, which includes a list of manufacturers of these products. These consumers should consult a health care professional for detailed guidance on treatment options.

"We will continue to take aggressive action against those firms that do not have the required FDA approval for their drugs," said Deborah M. Autor, J.D., director of CDER's Office of Compliance. "Today's warning letters are another demonstration of our commitment to remove illegal, unapproved drugs from the market."

Manufacturers have 60 days to stop manufacturing these products. Distributors have 90 days to stop shipping existing products. Previously manufactured products may still be found on pharmacy shelves for a short time.

To view copies of the Warning Letters, the names of the companies and their affected products, see the FDA's Unapproved Drugs Web page at:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/unapproved_drugs/enforcement.htm#narcotics

Information on FDA-approved drugs

Drugs Marketed in the United States That Do Not Have Required FDA Approval:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/unapproved_drugs

If you would like to hear a replay of the FDA's telebriefing on this issue, callers in the United States and Canada may dial 1-888-566-0502. International callers may dial 1-203-369-3058. The replay will be available until April 6, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. 

 

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