Oxy Watchdog

Keeping An Eye On OxyContin

Posts Tagged ‘Purdue’

New brand of prescription painkiller oxycodone approved

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 23, 2010

A new form of oxycodone hydrochloride, a synthetic opiate like the brand name drug OxyContin, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week, reports this release from the FDA. Lehigh Valley Technologies formulated the brand-name Oxycodone HCI as a morphine-derived painkiller to rival Purdue Pharma’s best-selling brand OxyContin. Purdue has tried to limit production of time-release and generic brands of oxycodone and has been embroiled in several lawsuits to maintain control of its $3 billion-per-year drug. According to its website, Lehigh Valley has developed its own version of abuse-deterrent drugs. In 2009, Lehigh Valley received a warning from the FDA for marketing an unapproved version of morphine, as detailed in this letter from the FDA. Like the brand-name OxyContin, Oxycodone HCI is a Schedule II narcotic and highly prone to addiction.

Read more about Purdue’s suppression of generic forms of oxycodone here.

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Makers of Oxy contribute to prescription monitoring programs

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 22, 2010

Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, contributed $200,000 towards the support and implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs earlier this week, according to this article from News-Medical.net. The monies were contributed to the non-profit National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities and will go toward grants which assist states to maintain prescription monitoring programs, the Association’s main focus. In the article, a Purdue representative states that the pharmaceutical company has been supporting appropriately-designed monitoring programs to help reduce the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. According to the article, the Association will manage the funding of grants and Purdue will have no input in the final selection process. Though OxyContin abuse has skyrocketed in the U.S. and abroad, Purdue Pharma makes a reported $3 billion per year on the opiate painkiller.

Read more about prescription monitoring programs here.

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pfizer snaps up maker of less-abusable OxyContin

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 12, 2010

King Pharmaceuticals, the maker of oxycodone-containing painkillers Remoxy and Acurox, has been bought by Pfizer for $3.6 billion, according to this article in the Washington Post. Remoxy was designed to be an abuse-resistant, control-released form of the opioid painkiller OxyContin, but was rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2008, reports this article from The Street. King also developed Acurox, another abuse-resistant opioid painkiller set to be submitted to the FDA in 2011. According to the Washington Post, with Pfizer at the helm, sales of the drugs could reach $500 million per year. Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, are also developing a less-abusable version of their $3 billion per-year painkiller.

Read about Purdue’s less-abusable version of OxyContin here.

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New opioid painkiller may rival OxyContin in the marketplace

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 30, 2010

As the pharmaceutical companies Grunenthal and Johnson & Johnson release positive final-stage trial results for their new opioid painkiller tapentadol extended-release, market predictors estimate the new drug will rival or possibly even replace OxyContin as the top medication for chronic pain. According to this article in Trading Markets.com, Datamonitor forecasts sales to reach over $800 million by 2019. If approved for sale in the U.S., tapentadol will be the first new opioid to reach the marketplace in over 25 years. As an opioid-based, Schedule II drug like OxyContin, tapentadol may also become highly addictive and should be used under careful supervision, states Johnson & Johnson in this press release.

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Watchdog Editorial: Don’t forget the ‘dorm rats’

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on September 4, 2010

The latest issue of Time Magazine has an alarming article on the “national epidemic of pill popping and accidental overdosing.” The article details how the medical community’s increased focus on acute and chronic pain, combined with Big Pharma’s bounty of powerful painkillers like OxyContin, has led to a tenfold increase in prescriptions for opioids in the U.S. since 1990. And “most experts agree that nothing but the exploding availability of opioids could be behind the exploding rate of death,” the article says.

According to the article, the people most affected by opiate abuse are mostly baby boomers – “so-called naive users in the 35-to-64 age group” who are often given 30-day prescriptions for OxyContin, “and it’s like a little opioid starter kit.” The article states that “contrary to stereotype, the people most at risk in this epidemic are not the usual pill-popping suspects – the dorm rats and users of street drugs.”

This may be the case statistically, but it’s not the whole picture. On a recent visit to Massachusetts, Watchdog met with family after family who have lost young kids – most of them under 25 – to Oxy and heroin addiction. Without exception, the kids got started on Oxy in high school and eventually moved on to heroin as they were priced out of their opiate addiction. Watchdog left with a pile of obituaries and mass cards for these kids half a foot high. Watchdog’s take: opiate addiction has many faces, but it’s crucial to focus on how this phenomenon is affecting the younger generation, even if the statistics claim the trend is focused elsewhere.

Quoted in the article is Joanne Peterson, founder of Learn To Cope, a support group for parents and family members dealing with a loved one addicted to heroin, OxyContin and other drugs. Peterson, who has attended 18 funerals of young kids who died of Oxy and heroin since December, tells OxyWatchdog the opiate abuse trend is leading to the loss of a generation of kids, and uses a much stronger word than “epidemic” to describe what she’s seeing on the ground.

“It’s comparable to a genocide,” says Peterson. “It’s killing so many people.”

Peterson – who said L2C’s weekly support meetings have become so heavily attended that they are often standing-room only – also expresses frustration with OxyContin’s maker, Purdue Pharma, for not doing enough to address the addiction problems its drug is creating. (In 2007, the company and three of its top executives forked over a $634.5 million fine to settle charges that they misled doctors and the public about the drug’s dangers.)

“I don’t understand how our country can allow a pharmaceutical company and its executives, who are convicted felons who pleaded guilty to mismarketing, to go on doing business in this country,” she says.

Read Time Magazine’s previous coverage of pill abuse here.

Posted in Editorial, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mass. officials wary of ‘less abusable’ Oxy

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on April 28, 2010

Officials in Massachusetts, where OxyContin abuse has reached epidemic levels, are lashing out at Purdue Pharma’s revamped version of the drug, which the company has touted as less abusable, the Patriot Ledger reports.

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry, Policy & Regulation | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

FDA OKs less-abusable Oxy

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on April 6, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new formulation of controlled-release OxyContin that is intended to make the powerful painkiller harder to abuse. The new formulation will most likely result in less abuse by inhaling or injection, but can still be abused or misused by ingesting larger doses than are recommended, the agency said.

Purdue Pharma LP, OxyContin’s maker, admits that “there is no evidence that the reformulation of OxyContin is less subject to misuse, abuse, diversion, overdose or addiction.”

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry, Policy & Regulation | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Purdue execs seek to overturn disbarment

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on February 10, 2010

Corporate Counsel reports that Howard Udell, the former general counsel of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, has had his lawsuit regarding his debarment consolidated with the cases of two of his fellow executives caught up in the OxyContin fraudulent marketing scandal. Udell, former chief executive Michael Friedman and former chief medical officer Paul D. Goldenheim are seeking to overturn an order excluding them from participation in federal health care programs for 12 years. The move comes in the wake of their guilty pleas in a $634.5 million settlement over the company’s marketing of OxyContin. In their lawsuit, the former executives say the record of conviction contains no evidence that they themselves committed any unlawful acts. Rather, they claim, “throughout their careers, each of the plaintiffs has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to combating abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.”

Hmmm.

View the original complaint in the case here.

Posted in Crime, Litigation | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Oxy is the new crystal meth: editorial

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on November 19, 2009

This editorial in the Daily Campus – based in OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma’s home state – asserts that the number of people who legitimately need the drug is far less than the number the drug is marketed to. Comparing the Oxy epidemic to the crystal meth scourge, it calls on Purdue to deliver on its promises to bring a less-abusable form of the drug to market, noting that Oxy-related deaths have become so prevalent that a specific “OxyContin verified” category on coroner’s reports has been created. Oxy is “one of the very few cases of name-brand causes of death,” the editorial says.

Posted in Trends | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oxy victims’ activist chastises Purdue again

Posted by Oxy Watchdog on October 20, 2009

You may have heard of Marianne Skolek, who lost her 29-year-old daughter Jill to an OxyContin overdose in April 2002. Skolek has become a vocal opponent of OxyContin and specifically Purdue, testifying before Congress in 2007 that the company has, in her words, used physicians as “pawns” to push a powerful narcotic that was being marketed as less likely to be addictive or abused. Most recently, she made headlines when she edited the Wikipedia entry on Purdue to state that Purdue’s actions “have resulted in scores of deaths and addictions in every state in the country.” (The changes were later deleted.)

Now, Skolek is accusing Purdue of lodging an “attack on the professionalism and integrity of physicians.”

Posted in Personal Stories | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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