New FDA chief cites promise of harder-to-abuse pain drugs

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration's new commissioner says his agency will fully back efforts to develop harder-to-abuse painkillers, part of a sweeping government drive to reduce deadly overdoses with pain medications.

Dr. Robert Califf told a panel of FDA advisers that his agency alone cannot solve the crisis of opioid drug abuse. But he pledged to do "everything possible under our authority to prevent abuse, save lives and treat dependence."

The FDA has assembled a group of its leading outside experts to recommend additional steps toward curbing abuse and misuse of pain drugs like OxyContin, Percocet and codeine.

Califf was confirmed by the Senate last week. But his nomination to lead the FDA was delayed by several senators who said the agency was not doing enough to address painkiller abuse.