Maker of Oxycontin Hopes to Extend Exclusive Rights to the Drug
An article from Join Together:
The manufacturer of the painkiller OxyContin is trying to extend its
exclusive rights to the drug, which is set to go off patent in 2013, The Wall
Street Journal reports. Purdue Pharma LP says a reformulated version of the
drug may substantially decrease abuse of the opioid.
The company spent $100 million to develop the new version of OxyContin. The
courts will decide whether the company can protect its reformulation, the
article notes. Purdue Pharma has 16 patent infringement lawsuits pending
against 10 makers of generic drugs.
According to the company, the new version of OxyContin, introduced in 2010,
is more difficult to abuse than the original pill. The patent on the old drug
is scheduled to expire next year, while the patent on the new formulation
extends to 2025.
Generic drug manufacturers say they are able to make their own formulations
of the drug that are difficult to abuse. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
is reviewing what safeguards or reformulations generic OxyContin should have.
The FDA is expected to announce its ruling by the end of this year. Little
research has been done to determine whether reformulated painkillers are more
difficult to abuse, the article notes.
The new OxyContin tablets have been hardened to make it more difficult for
them to be broken, chewed or crushed. When they are exposed to moisture or
dissolved in water, they turn into a thick gel, which makes the drug difficult
to snort or inject.
The company points to a 22 percent decline in the street price of the drug
from 2010 to 2011, as evidence the new formulation is cutting down on abuse.
The number of visits to poison control centers and admissions to addiction
treatment programs due to OxyContin have also declined since the drug was
reformulated, they said.
Director of The Ulster Prevention Council