FDA Charts Spike in Opioid Retail Sales From 1992 to 2016

Posted 06 March 2018 | By Zachary Brennan 

FDA Charts Spike in Opioid Retail Sales From 1992 to 2016

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month released an analysis charting the skyrocketing of opioid sales in the US, from less than $1 billion in sales in 1992 to about $8 billion in sales by 2015.

“Oxycodone and fentanyl products, which had combined retail sales of less than $150 million in 1992, accounted for $5 billion in sales and over 70% of the retail opioid market share by 2009,” the agency’s analysis said.


As of 2016, generic opioids made up over 90% of the market and more than 80% of opioids are sold in the retail setting, FDA found.

“Oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and morphine products, which comprised less than 25% of [morphine milligram equivalents] MME sold in 1992, grew to account for over 80% of MME sold by 2011,” FDA said.

But the uptake of opioids with abuse-deterrent properties has been slow.

“The science of abuse deterrence is relatively new, and we evaluated these trends beginning in 2011 and found very low uptake of these new products,” the analysis said. Only 5% to 6% of opioids sold since 2011 have been abuse-deterrent formulation.

Part of the problem is the price of such abuse-deterrent opioids, which FDA found is about five times higher than the price for non-abuse-deterrent formulations.  Also, there are no generic versions of abuse-deterrent opioids.


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