US drug warning ‘left off’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb

A key US regulator is playing down suggestions that the recently issued new suicide prevention drug will be substituted for in-vitro fertilisation for women.

An adviser to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently said he believed up to half of women would eventually go for one of the rival drugs.

But Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, has quashed any suggestion that this will happen.

Instead, he believes the controversial drug is safe enough for “millions of people” to take.

On Sunday, Mr Gottlieb told the BBC that the FDA remains supportive of its opioid crisis prevention campaign, but that those dying from a heroin overdose are not being helped by the current generation of implantable opioid receptor antagonists.

Here’s what he said:

So far this year, the FDA has approved 29 new medications, 14 of them preventative.

We do not know how many new products will eventually be approved but it is expected to be in the hundreds. This is due to our increasing globalization.

If FDA were to approve an implantable drug for no good medical reason, there would be an outcry. The question is whether it will help or if it will exacerbate these intractable problems.

Injectable drugs are relatively cheap and it can be removed if needed. It can be easily monitored and reversed. Those drugs have a shelf life of five years. So you do not have to take it for three or four years. It would be unfortunate if one of these drugs popped up.

People are entitled to think about what they want to do in their own lives. But we have recently been shown what the extremes are and yes, America may be someplace where that is more widespread.

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