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Bullock Urges Canadian Health Officials to Rethink Generic Oxycodone

Bullock Urges Canadian Health Officials to Rethink Generic Oxycodone

Attorney General Steve Bullock today sent a letter to Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq asking her to reconsider her agency’s decision to allow generic oxycodone to be manufactured and sold in Canada.

“Studies have shown that the tamper-resistant changes OxyContin manufacturers have made to the drug have resulted in less abuse among addicts,” Bullock wrote. “I have concerns that allowing easier-to-abuse oxycodone in Canada could undo some of the work that both Canadian and U.S. government and community leaders have accomplished in combating this epidemic.”

As Montana’s attorney general, Bullock launched a public awareness campaign focused on prescription drug abuse, the Invisible Epidemic. He also convened a statewide advisory council and worked with that group to win legislative approval for a prescription drug registry. The new registry gives doctors and pharmacists the tools they need to recognize and assist pill-seekers and doctor shoppers.

Bullock’s letter to Minister Aglukkaq follows:

November 21, 2012

The Honorable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister
Health Canada
70 Columbine Driveway, Tunney’s Pasture
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Canada

Dear Minister Aglukkaq:

I am writing to urge you to reconsider your recent decision to allow the approval process for generic OxyContin to go forward. Generic oxycodone, as you know, would be manufactured and sold in a non-tamper-resistant version.

Studies have shown that the tamper-resistant changes OxyContin manufacturers have made to the drug have resulted in less abuse among addicts.

As a state that borders Canada, Montana shares much with our neighbors. Sadly, that also includes a prescription drug abuse problem among our populations. Since taking office as Montana’s attorney general in 2009, I have worked with local and state law enforcement, pharmacists, doctors and citizens to combat the problem of prescription drug abuse.

We have seen some success. Montana recently launched a prescription drug registry. My office has hosted dozens of drug “take-back” days, allowing the responsible disposal of prescription drugs, and we have facilitated the creation of 16 permanent drug drop-box locations, with more communities coming on soon.

Still, we have much work to do.

I have concerns that allowing easier-to-abuse oxycodone in Canada could undo some of the work that both Canadian and U.S. government and community leaders have accomplished in combating this epidemic.

I understand your rationale and appreciate the measures you have proposed to better track and control generic oxycodone. However, I respectfully urge you to reconsider.

Sincerely,
Steve Bullock
Attorney General

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