King wins approval for anti-abuse painkiller Embeda

Even after several rejections, King Pharma held its ground in its push for Alpharma--and its persistence has paid off. Under the $1.6 billion merger agreement, King got its hands on Alpharma's extended-release pain killer Embeda. The FDA announced today that it has approved the drug for moderate to severe chronic pain. 

Beating out a handful of other companies racing to produce a strong but safe pain pill, King Pharma can now claim the title of first to market with a pain drug that can't be easily abused. Embeda tablets will house an inner core of naltrexone hydrochloride, a chemical that counteracts the morphine. If that core is released incorrectly--either by chewing, crushing or dissolved it in alcohol--abusers will have a harder time inducing a high.

King says Embeda will hit the market in September 2009. The drugmaker's shares rose 4.3 percent to $10.57 in afternoon trading.

- here's the King Pharma release