The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow drug companies to sell medications that reduce opioid cravings, even if they do not fully stop addiction, The New York Times reports.
In a speech at the National Governors Association, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar noted only one-third of specialty addiction treatment programs offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT). “We want to raise that number — in fact, it will be nigh impossible to turn the tide on this epidemic without doing so,” he said. Azar added the FDA intends “to correct a misconception that patients must achieve total abstinence in order for MAT to be considered effective.”
The FDA will encourage development of medications that can help patients function better and can be helpful when used in combination with therapy and other social support, even if the medications don’t completely end addiction, an agency official told the newspaper.