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On Thursday, September 13, Cephalon Inc. announced that four deaths have been linked to the powerful cancer pain drug, Fentora, which they manufacture. Fentora was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last September for use by specific cancer patients.

The Fentora fatalities allegedly all involved patients using the drug improperly. Two of the patients who died were reportedly using the painkiller as a headache treatment.

However, Cephalon is facing allegations that they promoted Fentora for off-label use.

Last year, an investigation by Connecticut’s attorney general found that Cephalon illegally promoted drugs for uses for which they are not approved, including Actiq, Cephalon’s older cancer pain medicine.

Cephalon has stated that the four deaths are not related to these allegations. Cephalon spokeswoman, Candace Steele, also noted that three of the deaths linked to the painkiller occurred within a fairly short time period and during the summer months, suggesting that the fatalities were likely a result of respiratory failure.

In a letter dated September 10 Cephalon addressed health-care providers regarding the potentially fatal side effects of the powerful painkiller and the correct way in which to prescribe Fentora.

Read more: Kim Dixon, Reuters

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.

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