NBC News @NBCNews The leading source of global news and info for more than 75 years. Jul. 27, 2019 1 min read

Is a new version of the painkiller OxyContin helping to fight the national opioid epidemic?

Neither the company that makes OxyContin nor the FDA has allowed experts to see data on whether it reduces abuse.  https://nbcnews.to/2YjUFG4  (1/8)

Nearly a decade ago, the FDA approved reformulated OxyContin and said the drug would be evaluated on whether the new version decreased cases of opioid abuse. (2/8)

"We asked for that data probably 40 or 50 times in last four or five years and were denied every time," Dr. Raeford Brown, an expert in pain treatment, said.

"They have it, but it's hard for us to force them to submit it," an FDA director said. (3/8)

The FDA holds a precarious role as both a public health agency and confidante of industry. While the agency can order drugmaker research, the info itself belongs to the company and is deemed "confidential commercial information" (4/8)  https://nbcnews.to/2YjUFG4 

Federal statistics show reformulated OxyContin hasn’t reduced overdose deaths. Since the new formulation was approved in 2010, fatal overdoses involving prescription opioids have risen more than 30% in 2017. (5/8)

Reformulation has been good for Purdue's business. Since 2010, OxyContin has generated more than $21B in U.S. sales, according to pharmaceutical tracking service IQVIA. And Purdue has steadily increased the drug's price more than 95%, according to data firm Elsevier. (6/8)

The patent on original OxyContin would have expired in 2013, allowing lower-priced generics to take their place. But by reformulating the drug, Purdue was able to extend its patent until 2030. (7/8)  https://nbcnews.to/2YjUFG4 

"It's in the public interest that we all know what these drugs are doing and yet none of us can see it, which is really terrifying when you think about it," Brown said.  https://nbcnews.to/2YjUFG4  (8/8) #NBCNewsThreads

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