Two companies are on the cusp of taking a new treatment for opioid addiction to the U.S. market at a time when lawmakers are seeking ways to arrest an epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse that kills 78 Americans every day.
Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc and privately owned Braeburn Pharmaceuticals have together developed a matchstick-sized implant that analysts expect will be approved next month, despite mixed reviews.
Implanted into the arm, the treatment is designed to be less vulnerable to abuse or illicit resale than the oral drugs that are currently used to treat opioid addiction.
The market for the implant could also be much bigger than first envisaged should a bill gaining bipartisan support on Capitol Hill become law. The bill aims to raise limits on the number of addicts that an individual doctor can treat.
Drug overdoses have overtaken motor vehicle crashes and firearms as the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says.