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More than a dozen pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. will work together with the White House to fast track the development of non-opioid pain medication to curb addiction.
President Donald Trump’s opioid commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, announced Monday a new partnership with the pharmaceutical industry that it hopes can accelerate the development of alternative painkillers. Seventeen of the major drug makers in the U.S. have agreed to share roughly 40 different compounds with each other that they hope will lead to the creation of a non-addictive pain medication, reports NorthJersey.com.
Christie says the partnership between drug companies mimics the industry’s reaction to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, when pharmaceutical giants came together to develop effective treatments. The companies will work in concert with the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration on the efforts.
“Without their help and participation, it will be near impossible to accomplish what we need to accomplish for the American people in terms of dealing with the opioid crisis and the overdose crisis in our country,” Christie said Monday at a press conference, joined by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, according to NorthJersey.com.
Conway noted that the drug crisis is a rare issue that brings both parties together, calling the opioid epidemic “a scourge across the land.”
Trump created the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis through an executive order March 29 and tapped Christie to lead the efforts. In an interim report given to Trump July 31, the commission implored him to declare the crisis a national emergency, noting that “with approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
“Can you imagine this country putting up with 17 9/11s every year?” Christie said Monday, according to NJ.com. “It’s unacceptable.”
Despite the recommendation and statements from Trump calling the opioid crisis a national emergency, the White House has not made any formal emergency declaration. The seeming lack of urgency in the White House response has sparked criticism about how committed Trump is to solving the crisis.
“It takes a little while to get those things implemented, you don’t just flip a switch,” Christie said Monday, according to NorthJersey.com. “The president and I speak regularly, and every time we speak we talk about this issue. And he is completely resolved to this being done. And my experience over the last 15 years, if Donald Trump is resolved to getting something done, it gets done.”