Facebook on Board With FDA Opioid Meeting, CEO Says

Stay ahead of developments in federal and state health care law, regulation and transactions with timely, expert news and analysis.

By Brian Broderick

The CEO of Facebook said he’ll send a representative to a meeting the FDA wants on ways to curtail opioid abuse.

Mark Zuckerberg told a joint Senate panel as part of a hearing April 10 that he’ll respond to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s request that tech and social media companies do their part to fight the epidemic of pain drug abuse.

“Senator, that sounds like an important initiative, and we will send someone,” Zuckerberg said in response to Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Capito had asked the Facebook CEO for a commitment, noting that Gottlieb “called upon social media and internet service providers, and he mentioned Facebook when he talked about it, to try to disrupt the sale—the sale of illegal drugs and particularly the powerful opioid, Fentanyl, which has been advertised and sold online.”

The West Virginia Republican said to Zuckerberg, “the commissioner is announcing his intention to convene a meeting of chief executives and senior leaders and I want to know: Can I get a commitment from you today that Facebook will commit to having a representative with Commissioner Gottlieb to finalize ... this meeting?”

The Senate’s hearing with the social media company’s leader was held by two panels—Judiciary, and Commerce, Science and Transportation—and focused on privacy and other issues. It came the day before the Senate’s health committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold their own hearings April 11 on legislation to combat opioid abuse.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

Request Health Care on Bloomberg Law