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Opioid policy

Domain 6: Stimulating innovation in the response to addiction

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Innovation – in biomedical research on pain relievers and medications for opioid use disorder treatment, supply control strategy, and delivery of substance use disorder treatment – is urgently needed in response to the opioid crisis.

The Commission therefore makes the following recommendations:

Implement public policies that correct for failures in patent law and market incentives

Recommendation 6a: Public policymakers should implement pro-innovation policies that correct for failures in patent law and market incentives.

Prioritize opioid molecule redesign and non-opioid medication development

Recommendation 6b: Government research agencies and private industry should prioritize the development of non-opioid analgesics and medications targeting addiction as well as the redesign of opioids to separate their effects (e.g., analgesia, euphoria, respiratory suppression).

Weigh international data more heavily in medication approval decisions

Recommendation 6c: To promote rapid adoption of treatments for opioid use disorder, regulatory agencies should increase their willingness to approve medications using data from trials conducted abroad rather than re-inventing the wheel. 

Deploy innovative strategies to disrupt fentanyl transactions

Recommendation 6d: Law enforcement agencies should develop and implement innovative strategies to disrupt illicit fentanyl (and other novel synthetic opioids) transactions both physically and financially.

Conduct “out of the box” demonstration projects 

Recommendation 6e: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency should be tasked with leading “out of the box” demonstration projects focused on the opioid crisis.