In brief: Ex-GOP governor now a Democrat
Tallahassee, Fla. – Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was elected the state’s chief executive as a Republican and then ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as an independent, announced on Twitter on Friday night that he’s switching to the Democratic Party.
Crist cited the Republican Party’s shift to the right on a range of issues, including immigration, education and the environment.
The announcement fanned speculation that Crist would seek to regain his old job from Republican Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.
Panel votes against stronger painkiller
Washington – Government health experts overwhelmingly voted against a stronger version of hydrocodone on Friday, questioning the need for a new form of one of the most widely abused prescription painkillers.
The Food and Drug Administration’s panel of pain specialists voted 11-2 with one abstention against Zohydro for moderate to severe chronic pain. The drug was developed as a long-acting pain reliever by San Diego-based Zogenix Inc.
The FDA is not required to follow the group’s recommendation, though it often does. It is scheduled to make its decision on the drug by March 1.
The panelists acknowledged that the pill would likely reduce pain, but worried it would exacerbate the national epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse.
If approved, Zohydro would be the first pure hydrocodone medication available in the U.S. Currently available products combine the drug with lower-grade painkillers such as acetaminophen.
Hydrocodone is prescribed to treat pain from injuries, surgery, arthritis, migraines and a variety of other ailments.
Pills containing hydrocodone consistently rank as the first or second most-abused medicines in the U.S.