Health Highlights: April 4, 2017

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Painkiller Maker Settles With U.S. Government

A leading maker of narcotic painkillers will pay $35 million to settle a U.S. government investigation of its distribution of those drugs.

Dublin, Ireland-based Mallinckrodt PLC sells a range of opioid painkillers including generic pills containing fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone, and brand-name products such as extended-release Exalgo, Xartemis and Roxicodone pills, the Associated Press reported.

The company also makes medicines to treat narcotic addiction.

Possible links between marketing of addictive painkillers and the epidemic of opioid and heroin deaths in the U.S. have been under investigation by lawmakers and prosecutors, the AP reported.

On Monday, Mallinckrodt said it had reached a deal with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern District of Michigan and Northern District of New York.

The agreement requires further review and approval by the DEA and Justice Department. As is typical in such cases, Mallinckrodt didn’t admit any wrongdoing, the AP reported.

A number of companies that sell opioid painkillers have been accused by U.S. politicians and others of playing a role in the nation’s opioid epidemic. Many people become addicted to opioids after being prescribed them after surgery or injury, and a number eventually turn to much-cheaper heroin.

In 2015, a record number of more than 33,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of such deaths involve a prescription opioid, the AP reported.

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