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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blocking Generic Painkillers

The battle against prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is painstaking and tireless; while much progress has been made over the last several years there is still many more moves that could be made to curb this ever growing issue. Pharmaceutical producers have long been scrutinized that the drugs they produce can be easily tampered with; by crushing to snort or melting the drugs down for injection users make them faster acting and more effective. Such practices increase the chance of overdose deaths by tenfold.

Manufacturers of the painkillers OxyContin and Opana are attempting to block generic drug makers from producing cheaper versions of the drugs, stating that doing this would save lives. Their argument is that these newer drugs will not have the tamper-resistant designs used in making the brand-name pills, according to The New York Times.

It is no secret that generic forms of certain drugs are typically much less expensive than brand name versions. One reason for the reduced price tag is the fact that such drugs are cheaper to produce since they lack prohibitors keeping people from misusing the drugs.

Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin and Endo Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Opana, have made their painkillers much more resistant to melting or crushing, which they believe saves lives making them more difficult to abuse. However, some may view this attempt to block the production of generic versions an attempt to increase their companies' revenue by pushing out the competition.

In December, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit by Endo, which attempted to have the FDA block production of generic versions of Opana. The article quotes court papers filed in response to Endo's lawsuit, the FDA called the company’s action a "thinly veiled attempt to maintain its market share and block generic competition."
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