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posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 12 2018, @05:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the scheduled-for-elimination dept.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has released a new statement denouncing the drug kratom. The statement says that the FDA has learned about new deaths that "involved" kratom use, additional adverse effects associated with its use have been found, and that Public Health Assessment via Structural Evaluation (PHASE) "3-D computer technology" has been used to analyze the chemical compounds in kratom:

Using this computational model, scientists at the FDA first analyzed the chemical structures of the 25 most prevalent compounds in kratom. From this analysis, the agency concluded that all of the compounds share the most structural similarities with controlled opioid analgesics, such as morphine derivatives.

The FDA continues to discourage the use of kratom, which it is calling an opioid.

The American Kratom Association provided a rebuttal of the FDA statement:

Nine leading scientists in substance addiction and safety wrote to White House Opioid Crisis Team Leader Kellyanne Conway and Acting DEA Administrator Robert W. Patterson requesting they disregard the FDA's latest disinformation campaign against kratom. The scientists warned that "four surveys indicate that kratom is presently serving as a lifeline away from strong, often dangerous opioids for many of the several million Americans who use kratom. A ban on kratom that would be imposed by CSA Scheduling would put them at risk of relapse to opioid use with the potential consequence of overdose death. Similar unintended consequences are to be expected in some who would be forced to use opioids to manage acute or chronic pain."

[...] David Herman, Chairman of the AKA, called upon FDA Commissioner Gottlieb to pull back the curtain on the "black box voodoo computer model" that was unveiled by the FDA to justify their continued 'War on Kratom,' this time claiming their computer model conclusively shows kratom is an opioid, and therefore had to be banned.

The nine respected scientists pointed out that "kratom provides a far more favorable safety profile for consumers compared to more dangerously addictive and potentially deadly classical opioid medications." They also pointed out that the FDA's solution – to file a new drug application for kratom – made no sense because "the average time and cost of new drug development is more than 10 years and 2.5 billion dollars."

Previously: DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
The Calm Before the Kratom Ban
FDA Blocks More Imports of Kratom, Warns Against Use as a Treatment for Opioid Withdrawal

Related: Opioid Commission Drops the Ball, Demonizes Cannabis


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  • (Score: 2) by stormwyrm on Monday February 12 2018, @03:21PM

    by stormwyrm (717) on Monday February 12 2018, @03:21PM (#636707) Journal

    Why spend money investigating such a product? Tell me something, what is the status of the patents on oxycodone? It was discovered in 1916. Hydrocodone? Discovered in 1920. Fentanyl? Discovered in 1960. The patents for all of these opioid drugs expired long ago, meaning nobody has to pay anyone royalties to make them. The only reason why they're suddenly more profitable to the drug companies these days is largely because of an infamous letter in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 [bbc.com] alleging that addiction to opioids is "rare". Before this letter, doctors were much more reluctant to prescribe opioid painkillers out of concern for their addictive properties. The letter made these drugs much more profitable because it made doctors more willing to prescribe them, leading to the opioid crisis we have today. Now, if I were a big pharmaceutical company, I'd definitely want to do serious research into kratom. Given the kind of anecdotal evidence it carries, there's a reasonably good chance that there's something interesting in there, and the only way to find out is to actually do the research. If it pays off I could have a new, safer painkiller to compete with the dangerous opioids, and I would hold the patents on it. It would make my shareholders very rich indeed as the new drug would then be prescribed instead of the opioids. But if there are regulatory roadblocks to doing this kind of research, then it suddenly doesn't look like such a promising strategy. Look at how research into marijuana-derived compounds languished over the years thanks to the same sort of regulation that they're imposing on kratom today.

    But then again, my thinking here is probably much more far-sighted than most of the MBAs that run Big Pharma these days. They'd be content to let R&D languish if doing so would make next quarter's numbers look slightly higher.

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    Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
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