PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says there’s been an agreement between the pharmaceutical industry and the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on addressing the nation’s opioid crisis.
Christie made the announcement in Trenton on Monday, shortly after he convened a meeting of the White House opioid commission that he chairs.
The governor says the heads of the major pharmaceutical companies and the director of the National Institutes of Health have agreed to work together.
“One, to help to develop new non-opioid pain medication, and to put that on a fast track in partnership with NIH,” Christie said. “And secondly, to develop additional medication-assisted treatment for those folks who are already suffering from this disease.”
Christie says all involved were willing to share information — a rarity in the pharmaceutical industry — and use the NIH as a fair broker clearinghouse.
When asked, Christie was unwilling to give a timeline, but he said the meeting had helped to move the process ahead significantly.
“The solution to this problem is going to come much faster after today than it would have if we didn’t have today,” the governor said.
Christie likened the opioid crisis to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and said he hoped it would garner the same level of public discussion, urgency and resolve.