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Zogenix files lawsuit against Massachusetts over painkiller ban

(Reuters) - Zogenix Inc said it sought a restraining order against an order by Massachusetts officials blocking sales of its FDA-approved painkiller, Zohydro.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced the Zohydro ban in late March, formally declaring a public health emergency stemming from the abuse of opioids in the state.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, follows an unanswered formal request to the Governor for a meeting to discuss the drug, the company said on Monday.

Zohydro, the company's sole product on the market, is an extended-release form of hydrocodone that, unlike rival products such as AbbVie Inc's Vicodin or UCB's Lortab, does not contain acetaminophen.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved Zohydro last year over the objections of its advisory panel, which expressed concern about the potential for abuse.

The drug has since come under scrutiny from members of Congress, state attorney generals, medical groups and drug treatment experts seeking to block Zohydro even as the health regulator's top official has defended granting it approval.

The United States is grappling with an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, especially involving powerful opioid pain medications.

In a bid to combat the rising opioid abuse, the FDA recently approved a portable device to treat overdoses that people without medical training can use in emergency situations.

The San Diego, California-based company's shares closed down 4.6 percent at $2.46 on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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