Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Require Abuse-Deterrent Formulations for Opioid Pain Drugs

A bill to require manufacturers to formulate tamper-proof versions of prescription opiate painkillers was introduced to the US House of Representatives on Thursday, July 19, 2012. With the aim of deterring abuse of the drugs, the Stop Tampering of Prescription Pills (STOPP) Act (HR 6160) would call on FDA to establish regulations requiring that drugmakers produce versions of opiate pain drugs that cannot be crushed. Two manufacturers, Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals, have voluntarily introduced tamper-resistant versions of their opioid pain drugs, OxyContin® and Opana® respectively. The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) and Congressman Bill Keating (MA-10) at a press conference on Capitol Hill. Mack stated that “Prescription drug abuse is not just a public health epidemic – it’s a national tragedy. But through the increased use of tamper-resistant medicines, we may see hopelessness replaced by hope.” Congressman Keating noted that “The STOPP Act will make tamper-resistant painkillers the norm, not the anomaly. This alone will not solve the problem, but it's a proactive step in the right direction that might save hundreds of lives across the country.”