Federal Ban Of Generic OxyContin Met With Ambivalence In Wisconsin


Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says a new ban on generic OxyContin will help prevent abuse. Some doctors, however, have reservations.

The Food and Drug Administration has banned generic OxyContin in favor of a new version that is less likely to be abused by snorting or injecting. Thwarting misuse of the prescription drug this way could increase costs for patients, insurers and government health programs.

Nilesh Patel is a Green Bay doctor who specializes in chronic pain. He is ambivalent about the FDA’s decision.

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“Whenever a generic drug is available, the cost always goes down. And so it’s always a welcome thing. But this is a double edged sword in this particular case, because it is an addictive drug. It has had massive societal impact in its abuse and misuse.”

Wisconsin’s attorney general believes there will be less abuse of the newer, patented OxyContin. J.B. Van Hollen supports the FDA’s decision not to let other companies in on the market. But with no generic alternative, law enforcement is concerned those abusing OxyContin may turn to heroin.

“There is a concern, and unfortunately it’s already happening. I think we have a new generation of heroin users and abusers who have turned to the heroin because it’s easier to access and is cheaper than prescription opioids.”

States are trying a number of ways to limit abuse of prescription painkillers. One of them is a community collection program for unwanted, unused drugs. Wisconsin will participate in the national Take-Back day April 27.