Oxycontin Patent Expiring in Canada. Now What?

woman writing the word "expired"

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 a strong painkiller. Cancer, car accidents, spinal injuries, neuralgias, and rare diseases can cause severe pain. Many of these people have more pain than a pill can kill.

OxyNEO Has Replaced Oxycontin in Canada

Last March, Purdue Pharma replaced Oxycontin with OxyNEO, a highly addictive substitute that is time-released and not officially tamper-proof. The drug was created to release slowly and help prevent inexperienced users from abusing it. For regular opioid users, the slow-release formula is likely to cause an overdose.

The federal health minister can decide by November 25 to allow drug companies to make a generic version of the painkiller OxyContin. Several generic drug manufacturers have already expressed interest in making the drug, but law enforcement and addiction advocates are wary.

In the United States, a reduction in Oxycontin prescriptions has been linked to an uptick in heroin addiction, overdoses, and deaths. When users couldn’t get the drug they were addicted to, they turned to street drugs like fentanyl as well. Oxycontin isn’t the only drug tied to the addiction epidemic.