February 27, 2012

Purdue Pharma has been working with health authorities for almost two years to prepare the way for the introduction of OxyNEO as a replacement for OxyContin across Canada. We are aiming to ensure as smooth a transition as possible, after which OxyContin will be discontinued and replaced with OxyNEO.

OxyNEO tablets provide the pain relief of OxyContin. But OxyNEO tablets have different properties. They have been hardened to reduce the risk of being broken, crushed or chewed. The tablets also become gel-like when in contact with water.

The restrictions to OxyNEO funding being imposed by some provinces are surprising. This product was specifically designed to help discourage misuse and abuse of the medication. Health Canada’s Special Advisory Panel recommended that manufacturers introduce new opioids which are less crushable and less abusable. OxyNEO is the first of such products on the market and paradoxically it now faces significant restrictions for new patients in most provinces. Patients currently being treated with OxyContin will be “grandfathered” for varying periods of time, which means they will be allowed to continue therapy with OxyNEO if their physician decides this is appropriate.

Purdue Canada does not claim that OxyNEO will prevent all tampering for the purpose of drug diversion, misuse and abuse. However, it is a step in the right direction. Purdue Canada supports restrictions for strong opioids in accordance with the Canadian Guideline for Opioid Use for Chronic Pain as well as careful patient selection. But we are deeply concerned that decisions to limit access to OxyNEO will compromise optimal patient care.

About Purdue Pharma (Canada)

A research-based pharmaceutical company in Pickering, Ontario, Purdue Pharma (Canada) (www.purdue.ca) is committed to improving patient health and well-being, by developing innovative medicines and supporting quality education for the safe use of its products. Purdue is a recognized leader in research and development of products for the treatment of pain. Its portfolio of products also includes medication for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disorders and infection control.