Pharmacists fear generic Oxy could cause crime, addiction
Members of the Essex County Pharmacists Association may not carry generic version of OxyContin
The head of a pharmacists association in southern Ontario is worried thieves and addicts will target pharmacies once the generic version of OxyContin is made available.
Health Canada recently approved the production of generic OxyContin. It should be available as early as January.
Tim Brady, the President of the Essex County Pharmacists Association said some pharmacies in Windsor-Essex simply won't stock the drug.
Even he is debating whether he will carry the drug at his own pharmacy.
"I know we're already fielding calls now from people asking do we have it? Do we have it?" he said. "You're hoping it's not for illicit means but I'm sure that's going to come up, for sure."
Brady said he's also concerned for patient safety because of the likelihood of the drug being abused.
Brady said that if insurance companies cover the generic drug or if they insist on the lowest-cost alternative to the brand name, pharmacies will likely have to carry the drug.
The highly addictive painkiller has local pharmacists in Windsor bracing for an influx of prescriptions for it.
It happened once before in Windsor.
Canadian OxyContin prescriptions in Windsor rose substantially following the introduction of a tamper-resistant formulation in the United States a report released last month said.
"During the time that America had banned it and we had it over here, certain pharmacies had a 300 per cent increase in OxyContin scripts so we're possibly bracing for it again," Brady said.
U.S. border and law enforcement officials have been told to keep an eye out for generic versions of the painkiller oxycodone crossing the border into the United States in the coming weeks.
The alert from the Office of National Drug Control Policy was sent out after Health Canada gave six generic pharmaceutical companies the licence to begin manufacturing the drug, which was produced until earlier this year under the brand name OxyContin.
The U.S. alert states, "The potential exists for diversion into the United States because the old formulations, which are easier to abuse, are unavailable in the United States. This alert seeks to raise awareness of this change with the law enforcement along the Northern Border so law enforcement and border officials can work jointly to prevent diversion."
The new generic version of the drug is one quarter the cost of brand name OxyContin.
Windsor Police have taken note of the generic brand's approval.
"We are acutely aware that generic brands of OxyContin will be on the market later this month. We will be treating this product as any other pharmaceutical. If persons are found to be selling these items, illegally then appropriate steps will be taken in terms of an investigation," Windsor Police spokesperson Sgt. Matt D'asti wrote in an email to CBC News. "If warranted, charges will be laid."
With files from CBC News