The Canadian government has given approval to six generic drug companies to manufacture oxycodone products. The Canadian health minister had been under pressure to forbid the generic version of OxyContin because of concerns about widespread abuse of the painkiller, CBC reports.
Canadian Health Minister Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the drug is safe and effective when used as prescribed, the article notes. Last week, she announced drug manufacturers and pharmacists will be required to report spikes in sales, or changes in distribution patterns, in an effort to curb prescription drug abuse. The government also is requiring drug companies that manufacture oxycodone products to provide better education for healthcare professionals and the public about the potential risks of the drug.
The Associated Press reports Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock sent a letter to Aglukkaq asking the Canadian government to reconsider its decision, which he said will make oxycodone easier to abuse.
Bullock pointed out features that OxyContin’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, had included to make the drug harder to abuse will not be included in generic versions.
“Studies have shown that the tamper-resistant changes OxyContin manufacturers have made to the drug have resulted in less abuse among addicts,” Bullock wrote. “I have concerns that allowing easier-to-abuse oxycodone in Canada could undo some of the work that both Canadian and U.S. government and community leaders have accomplished in combating this epidemic.”
The AP notes officials in Canada’s provinces and aboriginal communities are also concerned about abuse, particularly in rural areas.