FDA warns public vs possible proliferation in the market of opioid W-18

MANILA — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday that it ordered all Field Regulatory Operations Officers to continuously monitor the possible availability of the opioid W-18 in the market.

“All local government units and law enforcement agencies are requested to ensure that the above-mentioned substance is not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction,” the FDA said in Advisory No. 2016-107 signed by FDA OIC director general Maria Lourdes C. Santiago.

FDA released the advisory after it reviewed a communication coming from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) advising the Philippines regarding the Government of Canada’s announcement on tighter controls on the opioid W-18.

The addition of W-18 to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act will help law enforcement across Canada keep this dangerous substance out of Canadian streets, and off the hands of vulnerable individuals.

The communication further stated that the opioid use without valid medical prescription is a rapidly escalating public health problem in Canada.

The FDA was also told in the same communication sent that the unintentional overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers has quadrupled since 1999 .

“W-18 is a drug that originated in a Canadian academic lab working on analgesic drug discovery in the 1980s and appeared as designer drug in the 2010s. Evidence shows that W-18 has been used recreationally in Europe and Canada over the past two years. It has been found in samples seized by Canadian law enforcement that were made to appear like legitimate prescription tablets, such as oxycodone.” More importantly, it was found to be 100 times stronger than Fentanyl and being a street-level opioid, it creates availability from which illegal markets arise,” content of the communication stated.

In line with this, the public is enjoined to assist FDA in monitoring the market and to report any suspicious promotional or marketing activities of this opioid and its availability in the market through any of the following channels:

FDA’s e-Report (fda.gov.ph);

Send an email to: report@fda.gov.ph ;

Contact the FDA CDRR Customer Service Hotline at (02) 857-1989.

The advisory can also be viewed and download through FDA Philippines official Facebook account. PNA/northboundasia.com