Oxycontin Patent Expiring in Canada. Now What?

In Canada, just like the United States, there is an addiction epidemic currently being fought by communities and the government. Lawsuits against drug makers are also underway. Purdue Pharma, the original manufacturer of Oxycontin, is largely blamed for the opioid epidemic. Their patent in Canada is expiring, leaving the market open to cheaper, generic versions of the drug. Why Allow More Opioids on the Market? Many people argue that there should be no more Oxycontin on the market period. The drug has caused devastation across North America. Purdue Pharma certainly pushed the drug deceptively. An opioid maker without such a checkered past would be a welcome relief to sales representatives and hospitals. But a generic version would also create more opportunities for misuse and abuse. Can a regulatory body police the actions of addictive drugs effectively? There are a lot of misgivings about the benefits of offering a generic version of Oxy. The truth of the matter is that there are thousands of people in hospital rooms that need…

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JPMorgan Chase Dumps Purdue Pharma

JP Morgan Chase, the banking giant which handles accounts for Oxycontin manufacturer, Perdue Pharma, has told them to take their business elsewhere. JP Morgan did not lend money to Purdue, but JPMorgan's commercial bank managed the company's cash and bill payments, according to NBC. It’s currently unknown how long the bank handled finances for the pharmaceutical giant. The company is an enormous banker in the United States. According to inside sources, the banker has dropped Purdue Pharma due to its involvement in the opioid industry, and presumably because Purdue faces nearly 2,000 lawsuits in the United States. Banks have always made it a practice to refuse to lend credit to companies with risky ties or lousy credit. Purdue’s ongoing litigation certainly made it easier for the bank to drop them. The company has even considered bankruptcy as a way to free up assets due to the continuing lawsuits. Opioid Lawsuits Taking a Toll Purdue recently settled a lawsuit in Oklahoma for a staggering 270 million dollars. The money will…

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Blue Cross Stops Covering Oxy Jan. 1st, Offers Abuse-Deterrent Opioids

A few months ago, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, one of the nation's largest health insurers, announced that they would stop covering Oxycontin, a drug known for its addictive properties as well as its manipulation of doctors through marketing. The makers of Oxy, Perdue Pharma, have also stopped marketing the drugs to doctors, perhaps as a result of dozens of lawsuits stemming from the opioid addiction crisis here in the US. While many people hail this as a good sign, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage of pain relievers aren’t going to stop doctors from prescribing the medication in its generic form, or other variations of opioids in its place. A closer look at the changes that Blue Cross is making shows that the company isn't necessarily shunning opioids. They still plan to cover oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin. Instead, they plan on shifting coverage to new formulations designed to be harder to abuse. Two New Drugs Blue Cross is Covering RoxyBond is short-acting (SA) oxycodone formulation with what the FDA…

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Purdue Pharma “Fights Opioid Epidemic” – Too Little, Too Late?

Purdue Pharma is one of the largest opioid makers in the country and the subject of countless lawsuits in the past few years. They’ve received scrutiny over their choices to market and push Oxycontin on the doctors, and in February, they promised to stop actively marketing the drug. Now, this opioid maker is making efforts to help the people that are now addicted to their drugs. But is it just another PR campaign to mitigate the company’s bad reputation?   Critics say that all of this is “too little, too late.” Thousands have died from what even lawmakers say are irresponsible and maybe even illegal practices to push the drug. However, the dire consequences of opioid addiction make it so many localities can’t discriminate between funds. For many people addicted to opioids across the US, there simply isn’t enough help available. The federal government’s Opioid Commission is considered pretty much a “bust”, with lots of recommendations and few monetary resources to implement them. Many states are spending too much…

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Sublocade, New Med FDA-Approved for Opioid Abuse Disorder

Last week, the FDA announced approval of a once-a-month drug, Sublocade, for individuals with an opioid use disorder who need drug-assisted treatment to get and stay clean. For people suffering from the opiate-related disorders, there are just a few options for drug-related therapy to help them reduce cravings and stay clean. Suboxone and methadone have been the most available forms, but each has its drawbacks, including the fact that methadone is regulated in a way that means it must usually be dispensed just a dosage at a time. Missing a dosage can cause awful withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Even something as simple as inclement weather such as snow can make it difficult for drug treatment clients to get the medication they need. Suboxone has become popular because it has fewer drawbacks, with one of the main complaints being that a person prescribed the pill must be consistent with its dosage, taking it once a day, at the same time every day. This is why Sublocade, just approved by the…

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Insurance Giant Cigna to Halt Coverage for Oxycontin

Cigna health insurance, the fourth largest insurer in the US company with over 11,400,000 members, has taken what is seen as a drastic step in the fight against opioid addiction. Effective in January, the insurance giant will effectively stop covering the cost of use of the opioid OxyContin. While many in the addiction treatment profession have lauded this change, it’s important to look more carefully at what’s really going on. At the same time that Cigna announced they would no longer be providing coverage for Oxycontin, the company also announced a contract to continue covering a competing oxycodone alternative by the name of Xtampza ER. The contract includes a financial penalty on that drug's maker if Cigna discovers the drug is overprescribed or there are other patterns indicating the drug has become a drug of abuse. Because of this stipulation, the manufacturer also has more motivation to monitor sales and look for areas of abuse and high prescription rates. Cigna's announcement comes just a year after the insurer said…

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New Oxy Guidelines For Kids Alarm Lawmakers, But Drs. Say They’re Needed

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision last August to officially approve use and set guidelines for the use of Oxycontin, for certain children as young as 11 has triggered a huge debate among lawmakers, health care professionals, and parents about whether or not the drug is appropriate for treating pain in people under the age of 18. The new guidelines do not “legalize” Oxycontin, per se – prescription opiates have been prescribed for years off-label – but this is the first time there have been recommended guidelines for doctors to prescribe the powerful drug to children suffering from certain conditions that cause chronic pain. Some elected officials, as well as candidates running for office including Hillary Clinton, have echoed sentiments of addiction specialists who say the new guidelines will encourage doctors to expand access to a drug at the center of an epidemic of opiate abuse in the U.S. that was responsible for over 24,000 overdose deaths in 2013. They say health care providers need to focus on alternative…

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Opana: The New Painkiller of Choice to Abuse

Oxymorphone, known most commonly as Opana, is a powerful painkiller of the opioid variety that is available in extended-release and instant-release form. Opana is a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning it has approved medicinal qualities but also has a high potential for abuse. Opana is a very long lasting drug, which is another reason why people are choosing to abuse it instead of other prescription painkillers. Opana, when injected by its abusers, can be responsible for causing a fatal blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This disorder, which may result in kidney failure and death, imposes a limit on blood flow to organs by forming clots that form in small blood vessels. However, kidney failure is not the only risk that is carried with this disorder. The disorder also causes a person to be at a higher risk for getting a stroke or brain damage. As the popularity of prescription painkiller abuse has risen, more people now die from prescription drug abuse than from heroin and…

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OxyContin: The Crouching Tiger

The abuse of prescription drugs like OxyContin by the younger generation is a growing concern for society. The drug gives the user a sense of euphoria, replacing anxiety with sleepy relaxation -- a relaxed high if you will. One out of ten seniors in high school seniors have admitted to using narcotic painkillers to get high, and when it comes to OxyContin, the number seems to be increasing among the youth. The drug provides an experience that is attracting an increasing amount of users. It is looked at as a "party" drug instead of an extremely addictive substance. The public’s flawed belief in what an addict looks and acts like is thought to be a factor in the growing number OxyContin users and its acceptance among the younger population. One of the especially troubling things about this addiction is the ease of use for the addicts; the fact that the effects are not immediately noticeable. As a result, the young people who are using it don’t see the harmful…

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Newborn Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal

One of the saddest facts about prescription drug abuse is that a pregnant mother who abuses medicine will pass the effects to her unborn child. Unfortunately, it has become more and more common for newborn babies to be born addicted to prescription medications like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. The Los Angeles Times reports that in 2009, more than 13,500 infants were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS); this translates to approximately one such birth every hour. A recent New York Times article tells the story of one child that was only a few days old and had to be placed on methadone because his withdrawal symptoms were so severe. His mother abused OxyContin in the early stages of her pregnancy without her doctor's knowledge. She tried to quit while pregnant but became so ill that the survival of her unborn child was in doubt. Her doctor prescribed methadone for the duration of her pregnancy. After his birth, her son was placed on the same drug. Babies that are born…

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