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The Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve a new form of a powerful opioid for use in hospitals and emergency rooms despite opposition from the head of the committee that reviewed the drug.

The FDA is scheduled to decide by Nov. 3 whether to allow a California company to produce a 30-microgram pill form of sufentanil, a potent painkiller commonly used after surgery.

An FDA advisory committee recommended approval of the drug in a 10-to-3 vote on Oct. 12. The FDA usually follows the guidance of those committees, which are comprised of experts on various drugs and medical devices.

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