Nova Scotia's health minister says he's disappointed Ottawa has decided not to slow down the introduction of a generic form of the powerful painkiller OxyContin.
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq wrote to her provincial and territorial counterparts to say she won't interfere in the regulatory approval process.
Health Canada is adding new licensing rules to attempt to prevent abuse of the powerful painkiller. Manufacturers and distributors of the drug will have to report spikes in sales and changes in distribution patterns, in addition to the department’s current requirements to report loss and theft.
While he's unhappy with the lack of support from the federal government, Dave Wilson said he is taking some comfort that the federal minister is promising to try to help control the powerful opiate.
"Glad to see that the federal minister is going to work with us to probably strengthen the regulations around opiates here in Canada. But I think no question each province is going to have to continue to work hard to stem the seriousness of addiction services especially for opiates," he said.
Wilson said the province will also look internally to see what else needs to be done to control the generic form once it hits the market.
OxyCotin is manufactured to relieve the pain of seriously ill people, but it's sometimes used by addicts to achieve a high similar to a heroin rush.
The patent on the original drug is set to expire on Nov. 25. Several companies have indicated their interest in making their own generic versions of OxyContin.
A generic drug would require a scientific review by Health Canada before approval.