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Health Ministers Urge Delay of Generic OxyContin

OxyContin is highly addictive and dangerous opiate drug when abused.All the provincial health ministers are asking Ottawa for a postponement for the approval of a generic form of OxyContin.

Nova Scotia's health minister, David Wilson announced on Thursday that there was a collective agreement between all territorial and provincial ministers delay until there was further research conducted on OxyContin, one of the most highly addictive drug to date.

The ministers will be meeting next week in Halifax, and their federal counterpart, Leona Aglukkaq, will be expected to be there to join them on Friday.

Ontario’s Health Minister Deb Matthews has stated OxyContin, opiate pain relieving drug in either generic or brand name form is highly addictive, very easy to alter with and it’s causing particularly "devastating" consequences in First Nations communities.

"It's rampant," she stated in an interview. "Some of the native communities have declared a state of emergency."

There are options to OxyContin that are difficult to ground up and be turned into powders or liquids that are used for illicit purposes.

Although, the drug is still legal in Canada, other territories and provinces including Ontario no longer fund it. The manufacturer Purdue Pharma is currently marketing OxyNeo, a replacement which is more difficult to alter and tamper with, stated Matthews.

Minister Matthews expressed that she does not want OxyContin to return to the streets in a generic form.

"It's urgently important Ottawa at the very least delay consideration until we have more research that shows the impact," she said.

Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1995 and was intended for pain management with a time released formula over several hours of one dosage of oxycodone. In spite of this, abusers revealed quickly that they could defeat this timed-release attribute by crushing the pills.

A spokesman for Aglukkaq, Steve Outhouse expressed that Health Canada doesn't usually consider politicians’ opinions when deciding to approve drugs.

"It's a scientific process, and one of the things they look at when determining approving an application is whether risks outweigh the benefits," he said.

"That includes addictions when the drug is used as prescribed. Addictions are factored into it."
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