Which doctors to flag for reckless OxyContin prescribing may soon be a decision that's out of maker Purdue Pharma's hands, at least in California. Thursday, a spokesman from Purdue Pharma confirmed that the company had turned over a list of 49 California doctors it suspected of risky script-writing to the Medical Board of California.
California is pushing some new legislation that drugmakers and physicians were none too happy with in its original form. But after some amendments, a slate of reforms to increase authorities' powers to crack down on risky narcotics prescribers has made its way to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. The three bills now await his signature to make them law.
Now that Purdue Pharma has acknowledged news reports that it compiled a list of 1,800 doctors suspected of churning out OxyContin prescriptions for addicts and drug dealers, the political fallout has begun.
Purdue Pharma has a database of doctors who prescribe a lot of its painkiller OxyContin. On the face of it, that's not much of a statement, but in this case, the list of more than 1,800 comprises doctors suspected of recklessly writing scripts for addicts and drug dealers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
For months FDA regulators have been wrestling with the dangers of allowing a flood of cheap, generic version of the highly addictive OxyContin on the market vs. consumers with pain issues having access to cheaper meds.
Purdue's original patent on the superpotent and often abused painkiller OyxContin expires tomorrow, and drugmakers are jockeying for a piece of its $2.8 billion market share. But the FDA is under increasing pressure to require generic drugmakers to make their formulations tamper-resistant.
The FDA is enmeshed in a process to find the right balance on how to approve and regulate addictive painkillers and a vote expected today is just one small piece of that puzzle-piecing exercise.
Endo Health Solutions' ($ENDO) attempt to outmaneuver generic competition by kicking dirt all over its own product has come up short. A federal judge in Washington declined to force the FDA to declare the original formulation of Endo's pain drug Opana ER unsafe.
Here's another wrinkle in the debate over generic painkillers. Less than a week after Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP) sued the FDA to block cheap copies of non-tamper-resistant versions of its Opana pill, the White House is warning police and border officials to watch out for generic versions soon to be available in Canada.
On one side stand Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP) and Purdue Pharma. On the other, generic drugmakers that want to introduce copies of big-selling, high-powered painkillers. In the middle, the FDA, which has to decide whether to allow those cheap copies onto the market.