Painkiller ban raises constitutional questions

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Updated: 4/08 10:43 pm

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge says Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick might have been "out of line" in ordering a first-in-the-nation ban of Zohydro, a powerful new painkiller.

U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel on Tuesday considered a request by Zogenix, the San Diego-based maker of the drug, to immediately and temporarily halt enforcement of the state-level ban. The company says the ban is unconstitutional.

After hearing briefly from both sides, Zobel said she would hear more detailed arguments Monday, after which she expects to render a decision on a temporary stay. The judge said she would decide at a later date whether or not the ban should be permanently vacated.

Zohydro has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but some health authorities say the drug can be easily abused.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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