Health Canada OK with generic oxycodone

Prescription pill bottle containing oxycodone and acetaminophen are shown in this June 20, 2012 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

OTTAWA – Health Canada has approved a generic, addictive form of oxycodone just as U.S. officials urge their Canadian counterparts to ban such formulations of the popular painkiller.

The green light to Ranbaxy, India’s biggest drugmaker, came a week after the White House Office of Drug Control Policy reminded Health Minister Rona Ambrose of the dangers posed by generic forms of the opioid.

The U.S. has banned generic oxycodone because it’s too easy for addicts to snort or inject, opting instead for a tamper-resistant form of the drug.

READ MORE: Ottawa rejects ban on generic oxycodone, saying provinces can control abuse

American officials say the U.S. is dealing with a painkiller abuse epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of people a year.

U.S. officials have been pressing Canada to outlaw generic oxycodone, citing studies that show the more addictive formulations are migrating south of the border.

Story continues below advertisement

Ambrose has hinted that she’s looking into the issue of tamper-resistance and signalled plans to expand Canada’s national anti-drug strategy to include prescription drug abuse.

READ MORE: FDA wants limits on most prescribed painkillers

In a statement, Ambrose reiterates those intentions but doesn’t address why Health Canada bureaucrats approved the generic, addictive forms of oxycodone.

Health Canada did not immediately respond to a request for an explanation.

Sponsored content