The drug industry is taking a giant step forward in 2016.
A federal judge on Thursday struck down the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), a federal law that made it harder for the government to shut down the opioid industry.
It’s the first time in U.S. history that a federal judge has declared a drug law unconstitutional, and it came after decades of attempts by drug companies to fight the law’s enforcement.
The ruling by U.K. District Judge Katherine Forrest, which was made public on Thursday, also overturned a ban on the sale of the opioid fentanyl.
The ruling was also significant because it effectively ends the federal government’s prohibition of fentanyl, which is manufactured from morphine.
As Forrest wrote in her ruling, fentanyl is “not an addictive substance and does not have the destructive characteristics of morphine or the same addictive qualities of heroin.
Fentanyl has been found to be safe, legal, and effective for patients suffering from chronic pain and opioid-induced respiratory distress syndrome.”
Families and physicians have argued that the law would lead to the closure of more than 100,000 pharmacies nationwide, and that it would cost $200 billion in lost productivity.
The ruling could lead to similar moves by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which in 2014 issued a similar order, halting the sale and use of fentanyl in the United States.
The DEA has also said it is concerned that the FDA order would force pharmacies to close or limit access to opioid pain medications.
But Forrest said that the DEA order would be “just another example of how the FDA’s actions threaten to jeopardize the safety and health of Americans.”
The DEA issued its own order halting the distribution of fentanyl last year, but the ruling by Forrest effectively makes that order permanent.
“Fentanyl is now more dangerous than heroin and morphine combined, and the DEA cannot be allowed to make it easier for the fentanyl industry to sell the deadly drug,” said Dana Vollmer, the executive director of Families Against Prescription Drug Abuse, in a statement.
Drug companies have long lobbied for the law to be overturned, and they have been particularly vocal about the DEA’s decision to block the sale.
In March, the drug industry spent more than $40 million on a digital advertising campaign to push the FDA to block fentanyl.
In February, the House of Representatives passed legislation to repeal the FDCA.
The House has been working on a bill since January that would extend its current prohibition to include fentanyl.
While many of the drugs the DEA banned were made by big pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Amgen, and Pfizer-Merck, many smaller companies were also impacted by the drug ban.
While the FDA does not enforce the law on a nationwide basis, the agency is attempting to crack down on fentanyl.
Last week, the DEA announced a crackdown on fentanyl-laced pharmaceuticals in the states of Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In Florida, the Drug and Cosmetic Board (DCB) ordered a $50,000 fine against a pharmacy in Gainesville, Florida, which allegedly sold fentanyl-containing products.
Last month, the DCB ordered the closure in Ohio of two pharmacy chains that were accused of selling fentanyl-related drugs, including the Opioid Addiction Foundation of Central Ohio.
In addition to the FDA, the FDA also took aim at the DEA in March, when the agency filed a petition in federal court in Washington, D.C., to block enforcement of the law against the drug manufacturer.
But Forrest sided with the DEA, ruling that the agency’s action was an overreach of its authority under the FDDA.
“I would agree that the FDTA is a significant and substantial obstacle to the DEA [s] ability to enforce the Controlled Substances Act against the fentanyl manufacturers,” she wrote.
“This is not about enforcing the law, this is about preventing the DEA from having to deal with these manufacturers in the first place.”
In April, the Supreme Court agreed with Forrest’s ruling, and wrote a pair of opinions that upheld the FDMA.
“Although the FDRA may be an effective tool for stopping fentanyl trafficking, the court is troubled by the DEA and its continued use of the FDIA to stifle competition,” the two opinions stated.
“The FDIA does not address the potential for opioid substitution of other drugs or drugs manufactured from other sources and, as a result, the FDAA has been applied inconsistently with the statutory intent of Congress in a variety of contexts.
“In the meantime, we will continue to vigorously defend the FDA”
We are confident that we will prevail in the courts and in Congress in our fight to preserve and protect our lives, our families, and our communities,” said Michael Kofman, the president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in an emailed statement.
“In the meantime, we will continue to vigorously defend the FDA