Ontario Pharmacists' Association Supports Ontario Government and Calls for Deferral on Generic OxyContin Decision

TORONTO, Nov. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Pharmacists' Association supports the position of the Honourable Deb Matthews, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and calls for a deferral of the decision by Health Canada until it can be determined if the introduction of a generic version will result in the same public health issues that arose through the misuse and abuse of OxyContin®.

Currently, Health Canada is reviewing applications to allow generic versions of OxyContin to enter the Canadian market once the patent for OxyContin held by Purdue Pharma expires in the latter part of November. The Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA) respects the tenets of Canada's drug approval system and believes that the health interests of Canadians is top of mind when new submissions are considered by Health Canada.

Management of chronic pain is highly complex. Collaboration and communication among health care professionals and the patients for whom they care is critical in this specific context.

Pharmacists are acutely aware of the role they play as medication management experts.  While the drug approval process is designed to ensure that a product is safe and effective, it cannot protect patients against any product's eventual misuse and alteration, or illicit potential.

To that end, OPA and its members are concerned with and do not support the introduction of any generic version of OxyContin because it may contribute to a growing and well documented public health crisis related to abuse and misuse of a powerful and addictive analgesic. 

In addition, Ontario's pharmacists are concerned that the re-entry of this highly sought after formulation of oxycodone will lead to a resurgence of pharmacy armed robberies and break-ins which have been on the decline in some Ontario jurisdictions since OxyContin was phased out.

Pharmacists are aware that there are many chronic pain sufferers who are calling for the entry of generic versions of OxyContin, citing a much greater analgesic profile over that offered by OxyNEO®. It is for these patients whom pharmacists and prescribers must work collaboratively to more effectively manage chronic pain.

The Ontario Pharmacists' Association has consistently advocated for inter-professional collaboration in chronic pain management and the creation of tools that will facilitate these efforts. Included in this is the need of government and healthcare providers to accelerate the introduction and implementation of electronic prescribing, a drug information system, and inter-operable electronic health records.

About the Ontario Pharmacists' Association
The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association that represents the views and interests of more than 13,600 pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training across the province. The Association works to inspire excellence in the profession and practice of pharmacy, and to promote wellness for patients.

SOURCE: Ontario Pharmacists' Association

For further information:

Michelle MacLeod
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
416-413-4744
michelle.macleod@hkstrategies.ca