Improving the prescribing and use of pain relievers – all prescription drugs, in fact – is a necessity. It should rest in the hands of those with authority and experience on the matter: medical and pharmacy boards, professional societies, and patient advocacy organizations, among others. The FDA, in focusing its efforts on these matters, is being distracted from its core responsibilities: expediting the development of innovative medicines, and evaluating them with urgency to meet public health needs. If the FDA focuses its attention on making safer medications available to prescribers, it can make a real difference in the lives of patients with dire medical needs and, indeed, all of us affected by prescription drug abuse.
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