New Painkiller Banned: Massachusetts Fallout

Governor Deval Patrick is the newest politician to go after Zohydro.

Michael Douglass
Michael Douglass and Dave Williamson
Apr 10, 2014 at 5:00AM
Health Care

Zoegenics' (NASDAQ:ZGNX) Zohydro has been contentious since well before its approval by the FDA. After all, the FDA's advisory committee voted overwhelmingly against approval -- and the FDA then approved the drug despite that vote! The drug is indicated for the management of pain sufficiently severe to require around-the-clock daily opioid treatment for the long term, when other treatment options are insufficient.

Since its approval last year, members of Congress, 28 attorneys-general, and most recently Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick have weighed in against the drug, citing concerns about the drug not being tamper proof -- and therefore open to abuse. In late March, Governor Patrick issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Massachusetts regarding heroin and opiate addiction and banning sales of Zohydro in the commonwealth.

This week, Zoegenics challenged the executive order in court, with CEO Roger Hawley saying that "we are convinced the decision [to ban Zohydro] was driven by factual inaccuracies about the science and the data." A ruling is expected soon from District Court Judge Rya Zobel, who noted (per the Boston Globe) that "I think, frankly, the governor is out of line on this."

In this video from Tuesday's Market Checkup, Motley Fool health care analysts David Williamson and Michael Douglass discuss Zohydro and what's next for the embattled painkiller and its parent company.