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Gov. Patrick Renews Criticism Of Painkiller As FDA Head Comes Under Fire

Anti-addiction activists are calling for the removal of the head of the Food and Drug Administration because of the approval of a new painkiller that Massachusetts tried unsuccessfully to ban.

Pointing to the FDA approval of Zohydro last year, more than a dozen groups asserted the policies of FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg are contributing to the national drug addiction crisis. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said it was “irresponsible” to approve Zohydro without a tamper-proof format.

" I don't have a point of view about whether she ( Hamburg) should or should not step down, I have a point of view about Zohydro, and the fact that it is not available in a tamper-proof form, which is my objection," said Patrick.

A federal court earlier this year overturned Gov. Patrick’s ban on the sale of the painkiller in Massachusetts.  Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has put restrictions on how Zohydro can be prescribed.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.