BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts’ ban of the powerful new painkiller Zohydro remains in effect for now.

U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit claiming the state’s first-in-the-nation ban is unconstitutional, but declined to rule on whether an immediate but temporary halt to the ban was needed.

The court is weighing whether the ban should be permanently vacated.

Gov. Deval Patrick ordered the ban as he declared prescription drug abuse a public health emergency in Massachusetts. It is believed to be the first attempt by a state to block a federally-approved drug.

The state argues that the drug will “exacerbate a severe public health crisis.”

Drug maker Zogenix argues that the ban is unconstitutional because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved Zohydro’s use.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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