Zogenix fights state ban on Zohydro in court

Massachusetts State House boston
The hearing is set for Tuesday afternoon.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

A federal judge hinted that she is willing to strike down the state’s ban on a painkiller at the request of the drug maker, but gave state officials more time to prepare their argument. 

The maker of Zohydro and lawyers for the state appeared in federal court Tuesday to argue the banning of the drug after Gov. Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency last month citing an “epidemic of opiate abuse.”

“The governor is out of line on this,” said Judge Rya Zobel.

Zobel gave the state until a new hearing on Monday morning to make its case after an assistant attorney general argued that her office had only received the case Tuesday morning.

Zogenix, the California-based drug maker, filed a motion in federal court on Monday that seeks to stop the state’s ban on its drug, Zohydro. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in federal court in South Boston.

Assistant Attorney General Jo Ann Shotwell Kaplan argued that Zogenix’s request for an injunction on the ban was not immediately necessary because no one in the state is currently using the drug.

Zobel questioned Shotwell Kaplan as to why the state didn’t contact Zogenix before the ban. Shotwell Kaplan said that the state had to act fast before people started using the drug and then would find themselves without it, which would have been dangerous.

Steven Hollman, a lawyer for Zogenix, said that so far four people in the state have been prescribed the drug, but have been unable to get it filled. He estimated thousands more would benefit from it.

“What’s the emergency here,” Hollman said in court. “The emergency is the opioids already on the market.”

Last month, citing an “epidemic of opiate abuse” in Massachusetts, Patrick declared a public health emergency. Among the steps being taken by state leaders and health officials to control the abuse was the immediate prohibition of the prescribing and dispensing of any hydrocodone-only formulation until adequate measures are in place to safeguard against potential overdose and misuse.

In court documents, Zogenix said that Zohydro is the only drug in the category targeted by the state. The company also argues that the drug, which tackles severe pain in patients requiring continuous around-the-clock opioid therapy, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October.

The company also argues that the ban will harm patients as well as the drug maker.

“Zogenix also stands to suffer substantial lost sales in Massachusetts as a result of the ban. It has projected millions of dollars in sales for Zohydro ER in Massachusetts in the coming years,” the company said in a court filing.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

Movies

Antoine Fuqua knows how to kill a man…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…