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VIDEO: Senator Hassan Slams FDA Commissioner Nominee on Opioid Labeling, Citing Granite Staters’ Stories of Overdose Deaths

Senator: ‘The evidence has been here for a long time. It’s the evidence that I see when I go to the funeral of a constituent who has been in recovery multiple times and has relapsed. It’s the evidence that I see when I go to the funeral for that constituent’s sister and listen to the mother who has lost two adult daughters to this illness despite their repeated attempts to enter into recovery.’

WASHINGTON – During the nomination hearing for Dr. Robert Califf to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senator Hassan slammed the lack of action by the FDA to address opioid misuse.

Senator Hassan specifically pressed Dr. Califf on why the FDA has not changed the labeling guidance for opioid prescriptions, given that doctors frequently overprescribe opioids, which in turn can lead to addiction.

 

Dr. Califf responded, “I think as the evidence comes in we are going to need to aggressively look at relabeling.”

 

Senator Hassan pushed back strongly, sharing the stories of Granite Staters: “The evidence has been here for a long time. It’s the evidence of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people, dying in this country. It’s the evidence that I see when I go to the funeral of a constituent who has been in recovery multiple times and has relapsed. It’s the evidence that I see when I go to the funeral for that constituent’s sister and listen to the mother who has lost two adult daughters to this illness despite their repeated attempts to enter into recovery. There is plenty of evidence about what we need to do about this epidemic, and the FDA needs to take the lead.”

 

During the hearing, Senator Hassan also pressed Dr. Califf on the FDA’s approval of oxycontin. Senator Hassan has pushed the FDA for answers on its past decision-making processes for the approval and labeling of opioid drugs. Senators Hassan and Ed Markey (D-MA) previously wrote to the FDA calling for a fuller accounting of the FDA’s past decision-making processes. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Hassan, and colleagues also previously wrote to President Biden detailing concerns with the FDA’s previous decision making for prescription opioids and calling for new leadership at the FDA.

 

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