Feds should tighten access to common painkillers, legislators say

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The Food and Drug Administration should “act without delay” in tightening access to hydrocodone painkillers such as Vicodin, Congressional lawmakers urged in a recent letter. The letter was written by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and signed by a bipartisan group of five other senators and two representatives. Dated Feb. 14, it was sent to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg about a month after an FDA advisory committee voted in favor of new hydrocodone restrictions. Some critics said these new measures would adversely affect nursing home residents, who would no longer be able to refill hydrocodone prescriptions by fax or phone. Long-term care operators may also be affected by certain proposed provisions, such as a rule that hydrocodone must be stored in vaults.