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How Big Pharma Hooked America On Legal Heroin

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the wrapped-it-in-a-cheeseburger dept.

Businesses 499

pigrabbitbear writes "The active ingredient in OxyContin, oxycodone, isn't a new compound. It was originally synthesized in Germany in 1916. The patent on the medication had expired well before Purdue Pharma, a Stamford, Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company and the industry leader in pain medication, released it under the brand name in 1996. The genius of Purdue's continued foray into pain-management medication – they had already produced versions of hydromorphone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and hydrocodone – was twofold. They not only created a drug from an already readily available compound, but they were able to essentially re-patent the active ingredient by introducing a time-release element. Prior to the 1990s, strong opioid medications were not routinely given for miscellaneous or chronic, moderately painful conditions; the strongest classes of drugs were often reserved for the dying. But Purdue parlayed their time-release system not only into the patent for OxyContin. They also went on a PR blitz, claiming their drug was unique because of the time-release element and implied that it was so difficult to abuse that the risk of addiction was 'under 1%.'"

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Well you know... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380051)

That just proves that Rush Limbaugh is part of the 1%.

Re:Well you know... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380185)

That just proves that Rush Limbaugh is part of the 1%.

Whatever drug Rush Limbaugh is on is way stronger than OxyContin.

Re:Well you know... (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41380391)

Seriously, how twisted does one have to be to get themselves hooked on heroin, yet thinks pot and people who smoke it, is evil? And people listen to this guy.

Re:Well you know... (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41380575)

People who yell the loudest often have the most to hide. He's simply a drug addict who hates himself, his ego won't allow that so he projects his behavior onto others.

Re:Well you know... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41380595)

I think the last time I actually listened to Rush was in 1997, so I really can't remember... does he hate teh gays as much as teh druggies? I'm just asking.

Re:Well you know... (0, Flamebait)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#41380709)

so I really can't remember... does he hate teh gays as much as teh druggies? I'm just asking.

Yes? No? How do you answer a "have you stopped beating your wife" kind of question, and what does it say about the person who doesn't know what someone else has said but will still ask that kind of question?

Re:Well you know... (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 years ago | (#41380855)

It's not a "have you stopped beating your wife" kind of question if the latent assumption (e.g. that Rush Limbaugh "hate[s] teh druggies") is previously established as true (which earlier posts claim is the case).

In other words, it's not a fallacy to ask "have you stopped beating your wife?" if the previous question, "did you ever beat your wife?" had already been answered in the affirmative.

Re:Well you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380883)

>have you stopped beating your wife
I beat her every night...she not a very good card player

Re:Well you know... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41380929)

But I do know what he has said about druggies, and his opinion of them is not open to question here. So, same question, but this time can I get a non-masturbatory answer?

Re:Well you know... (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41380925)

The only thing you need to know is that he loves money, and has found a niche that happily pays him plenty of it.

Frankly, I long ago gave up any hope that any of the major Conservative commentators was being sincere. There's so much money to be made preaching to the choir, and it does matter how over the top the rhetoric they will lap it up, that I think Conservative talk shows are about as real as a carnival side show. Think of Rush as the bearded woman and you've figured out the secret.

Re:Well you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380775)

You sure it's not YOU who's projecting here?

Re:Well you know... (0)

ichthus (72442) | about 2 years ago | (#41380621)

Of the two drugs you mentioned, one is prescribed by a doctor and highly addictive, the other is neither prescribed nor addictive. Big difference.

Re:Well you know... (5, Informative)

crazycheetah (1416001) | about 2 years ago | (#41380893)

Wrong. The first is prescribed by a doctor and is highly addictive. That part you got right. Congratulations.

Cannabis, you're wrong on, though. It is prescribed by a doctor in growing number of states in the US, and I can't speak for outside of the US on that, so I'll leave that to someone who knows better (as far as I know, it may or may not be the case elsewhere in the world that doctors prescribe it). So, a little right on the first one there, but equally wrong.

As for addictive... Cannabis IS addictive. Psychologically for sure (you can be psychologically addicted to all kinds of things, though). Physically, despite popular, bullshit lies, you CAN be physically addicted to cannabis. Physical Dependence requires Tolerance and Withdrawal. You definitely get tolerance with cannabis, specifically because the receptors that the cannabinoids attach to begin to down regulate or stop functioning so that you need more cannabinoids to have the same effect. As for withdrawal, there is very clear withdrawal symptoms associated to stopping cannabis use suddenly: irritability, anger, aggression, restlessness, difficulty focusing, increased appetite, weight gain, sleep disturbances (insomnia, disturbing dreams, etc.), anxiety, depressed mood, cravings, sensitivity to light, stomach pain, increased sweating, fever, chills, and headaches, to name a few. In fact, because this has become accepted fact throughout the psychological and medical fields, they are adding official diagnosis of Cannabis Withdrawal to the latest diagnostic standards [dsm5.org] (mind you, they are also dropping the terms Abuse and Dependence and moving to simply Substance Use Disorders, with a spectrum of No Diagnosis, Mild, Moderate, and Severe).

Reputable facts are a good thing to know if you're going to make claims...

Re:Well you know... (2)

emarkp (67813) | about 2 years ago | (#41380635)

Can you please point to where Limbaugh said "pot and people who smoke it, [are] evil"?

Re:Well you know... (5, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | about 2 years ago | (#41380763)

"The FDA says there's no -- zilch, zero, nada -- shred of medicinal value to the evil weed marijuana. This is going to be a setback to the long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking crowd."

Radio broadcast, Apr. 21, 2006

No, he's not literally calling the smokers evil, but the OP didn't put it in quotes. It's clear that he thinks they're bad people, and he did explicitly call the marijuana itself evil.

Re:Well you know... (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41380787)

He supports candidates that support the criminalization of cannabis. That's close enough. Yes, that applies to anyone who supports Obama too. The War on Drug Users is an atrocity.

Re:Well you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380879)

Seriously, how twisted does one have to be to get themselves hooked on heroin, yet thinks pot and people who smoke it, is evil? And people listen to this guy.

While your remark is funny, it is based on a false premise. Rush was hooked on Oxycontin not heroin. He had become addicted while taking as a prescription after spinal surgery. As all addictive substances tend to rob the addicted of rational thinking (insert political comment here) and cause an irresistible craving, he pursued other avenues of obtaining the drug after his initial prescription had run out. While I don't condone this, I understand how such a powerfully addictive drug can cause one to behave without regard for one's own or other's well being. In my opinion, if a man like Rush, who is vehemently anti-drug, can be introduced to a drug by well meaning doctors and then be driven to breaking the law to obtain the drug because of its highly addictive properties, this substance should probably be outlawed.

Dont forget the low cost (3, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41380061)

They keep the cost low even though other drugs have increased considerably in cost.
Why is that, one might ask.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380175)

I don't get this?

So you folks want people to suffer in pain and have to spend a lot of money to get less release from their pain?

And, yes, I think Rush is in the top 1% of American income earners. Self made man, also. Kind of makes all the rest of us feel like worthless garbage, doesn't it.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (1, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 2 years ago | (#41380321)

Kind of makes all the rest of us feel like worthless garbage, doesn't it.

You must be on OxyContin.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380355)

The man made his income by giving up any semblance of a soul he had to become as close to a literal mouthpiece for a powerful political party as is possible while still being considered "human". His entire career is built around echoing talking points and riling up a voter base according to the whims of the bigwigs in the party. Nothing more. He has no opinions, he has no thoughts, he has no ideas that aren't specifically vetted by whoever's pulling his strings to make him talk and spread hate and fear over the airwaves. He made his income by being a complete tool, plain and simple, cut-and-dry.

And you're saying that makes US feel like worthless garbage? Pfui! Looking at that man's "life" makes me more proud than ever of how my own life turned out!

Re:Dont forget the low cost (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#41380769)

The man made his income by giving up any semblance of a soul he had to become as close to a literal mouthpiece for a powerful political party as is possible while still being considered "human".

A more apt description of James Carville and Paul Begala would be hard to find. Although the former might have slipped over the "still being human" line a few times.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380473)

Yeah, personally I'm kind of glad Rush Limbaugh hasn't OD'd yet. Everything about him makes me feel like I'm an amazing, intelligent, thoughtful, caring human being. Well... at least by comparison. Otherwise I'm not so impressive.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41380309)

"They keep the cost low even though other drugs have increased considerably in cost."

I don't think so. Street value for an Oxy 80 is $80.00 or more. [yahoo.com] .

Re:Dont forget the low cost (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#41380807)

I don't think so. Street value for an Oxy 80 is $80.00 or more..

That's like buying a McDonalds dollar menu burger from a scalper on the street for $10 and then blaming McDonalds for overcharging you.

Street price is what you pay to guys who get the drugs illegally and charge you dearly for the privilege of avoiding the risk of doing that yourself. OTC price is what you pay a pharmacy, and I suspect that $80 is not what they'd charge you.

OTH, I did once pay $1100 for a about 30 anti-seizure pills when they were necessary and the insurance hadn't gotten processed for them yet. That's still only $36 each.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380837)

OxyContin isn't an over the counter drug, you've got to have a prescription for it.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41380843)

The street price is higher because the pharmacy cost is higher.

Re:Dont forget the low cost (4, Informative)

Stickerboy (61554) | about 2 years ago | (#41380337)

They keep the cost low even though other drugs have increased considerably in cost.

Why is that, one might ask.

Low cost? OxyContin is one of the most expensive PO pain medicines doctors use.

I have insurance companies tell me all the time that they would rather I use one of the cheaper alternatives if OxyContin comes up.

History repeats itself (5, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41380095)

And of course, heroin itself was introduced as a "non-addictive" alternative to morphine.

From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

From 1898 through to 1910, diacetylmorphine was marketed under the trademark name Heroin as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant. Bayer marketed the drug as a cure for morphine addiction before it was discovered that it rapidly metabolizes into morphine.

Funny how history repeats itself.

Re:History repeats itself (4, Insightful)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 2 years ago | (#41380619)

I cannot help but think of the huge numbers of people in this country are druggies whenever I read articles like this or all these drug commercials and ads. I'm talking about the "legal" ones which I think are higher numbers than your typical addicts that get non-regulated non-prescript from the dealer on the street. And then to think there was a time in China when much of the population were opium addicts which made much of the country dysfunctional and was easily overran by foreign powers (i.e. the Opium Wars). I see the USA going the same route. If I could wave the magic wand, my first would be to prohibit advertisements of prescription drugs on television and internet and magazines. Restrict it to only medical magazines and journals.

Re:History repeats itself (2)

reub2000 (705806) | about 2 years ago | (#41380771)

And how many people are addicted to booze? People are looking for ways to alter their minds. Restricting advertising isn't going to do any good.

Well you know... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380121)

That just proves that rush Limbaugh is part of the 1%. :)

1% is probably true for all opiates (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380167)

The vast majority of people who are prescribed opiates do not become addicted to them. Most people who have try heroin or cocaine do not become junkies/fiends who destroy their lives in an attempt to stay high all the time. The "one hit and you're hooked for life" thing is just prohibition propaganda.

Re:1% is probably true for all opiates (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | about 2 years ago | (#41380793)

I'm not so sure. I think virtually everyone who is on opiates for any length of time becomes habituated to them and suffers withdrawal if they're not careful about how they come off the drug. Maybe that's not what you'd call "addiction", but it sure smells like it to me.

--PeterM

lies, damn lies (2, Interesting)

craftycoder (1851452) | about 2 years ago | (#41380199)

The son of a colleague of mine chewed up a few at a party and promptly over dosed. Happy 19th birthday kid, you dead.

Re:lies, damn lies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380261)

If it was OxyContin, then he probably died from acetominophen overdose. They add huge amounts (near lethal doses) to keep people from taking too many pills. Unfortunately, some people don't read the label nor understand the toxicity of Tylenol.

Re:lies, damn lies (5, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41380319)

If it was OxyContin, then he probably died from acetominophen overdose. They add huge amounts (near lethal doses) to keep people from taking too many pills. Unfortunately, some people don't read the label nor understand the toxicity of Tylenol.

And unfortunately, reading comprehension is a problem with at least some ACs.

Oxycontin DOES NOT have acetaminophen (Tylenol for USer's, paracetamol for the rest of the world).

Percocet, Roxicet and various other short acting formulations do.

Re:lies, damn lies (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41380481)

Is it any wonder this gets confusing? Every drug has a minimum of three different names: The unpronounceable chemical name, the generic name, and the brand name. But most of them are sold under many, many brand names in different countries and by different manufactuers, and sometimes even by one manufacturer in one country. Even the one you refered to you have to mention under three different names, and that's before you even get into formulation differences and different regulatory classification schemes. Only a specialist could hope to keep track of them all.

Re:lies, damn lies (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380845)

Only a specialist could hope to keep track of them all.

Even specialists sometimes can't. One of the problems with our health care system is that the sheer amount of medications have overwhelmed the average doctor's ability to keep up. Pharmacists are typically much better, but that's because they focus entirely on prescription drugs.

Then again, at no time in our history have we, the patients, had as much information at our fingertips. There are online drug databases where we can look up information on the prescriptions we take. It's beyond stupid to take any drug without reading the 2-3 pages of text on precautions, interactions and other general information. Google searches will yield even more information. If you have any concerns, it's very easy to bring your concerns to a pharmacist who will most likely be able to help you on the spot or will, at a minimum, look up the information necessary and figure out how to answer your questions.

Re:lies, damn lies (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380429)

He died from a case of stupid.

Re:lies, damn lies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380583)

As a pharmacist, I can tell you that Oxycontin DOES NOT have any acetaminophen (APAP) in it. However, Percocet and its various generics do.

Re:lies, damn lies (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41380887)

Ah crock of shit. What a crock of shit, I take endocet(oxycodone hcl 5mg/acetaminophen 325mg) every 4-6 hours as required for my back along with long acting Hydromorphone(10mg twice daily). And I'll be honest, if I didn't I couldn't even function, I fractured my C2 and C3 a few years ago, and let's be honest here. I'm damn lucky I didn't die from it, or am a paraplegic, or partially crippled(though I would be without the pain killers--though from people who read my posts this would explain why there is sometimes a lack of coherence, especially between that and the 60mg of baclofen I take for the spasms).

Now before I was on the endocet, my family doctor gave me tylenol 3's(that's 325+30mg codine) and I was taking two of those every 4hrs and it wouldn't do shit, but before that regular over the counter acetaminophen w/codeine didn't do shit. And here in Canada, you get them without a prescription. Now his advice was "as many as you could stomach, not exceeding 20 in a 24hr period" yeah that's a lot of pills(325x20=6500mg acetaminophen+codine) . And I was in a lot of pain. Needless to say, I'm still alive, and my liver is fine.

Re:lies, damn lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380565)

Just curious, what is the "lie" you are referring to? An overdose of a prescription pain reliever, especially mixed with who know who else the guy swallowed that day, was fatal. Who knew?

Re:lies, damn lies (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#41380861)

Clearly Purdue Pharma is to blame.

More hype and angst (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41380215)

Another Slashdot 'article' full of slant and hyperbole.

Yep, Purdue over marketed the drug, Pharma always does that.
No, it was never considered 'safe' - oxycodone has always been DEA schedule II (the most 'dangerous of legal drugs').
What isn't discussed is that the reason that long acting opiates were allowed by the FDA was the increasing realization that medicine has done a historically poor job of treating pain.

Now, allopathic medicine has used, and continues to use a very immature and inadequate model both pain control and addiction. The former is hobbled by limited good research on the issue and the fact that the opiates (heroin, morphine, oxycodone and similar drugs) have been the most effective against serious pain while being significantly addictive. The latter hobbled by addiction being both a legal and a medical problem in the US. The legal system and the medical system tend to work poorly with each other and this is not an exception to that rule.

And I've not even started on the human propensity to stuff whatever it can down it's collective gullet in order to achieve some different level of consciousness.

Yep, Purdue did some poor marketing and a lot of docs (for some bizarre reason) fell for it, but they are hardly the only players in the game.

Re:More hype and angst (5, Informative)

aabrown (154032) | about 2 years ago | (#41380511)

I agree with you for the most part, but... Mr. allopathic: there are two kinds of medicine: medicine and NOT medicine (homeopathic, reiki, acupuncture, and the rest of the (S)CAM stuff). That is all.

Re:More hype and angst (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41380589)

Another Slashdot 'article' full of slant and hyperbole.

My thoughts exactly. None of this is news (or even noteworthy) to anyone following the medical industry. Drug patents are not on just a chemical, but on exact formulations and their use to treat specific diseases in specific ways. Double the strength of each pill and have doctors prescribe one daily rather than two, and it's a new patentable drug [blogspot.com] . Mix in a practically-irrelevant bit of aspirin and it's a new combination that relieves symptoms and pain!

It's not that Purdue was particularly evil in their marketing of the drug. They're no worse than anybody else. Of course, rather than decry the whole medicine business and its ludicrous inefficiencies and rent-seeking, the author picks one particular scapegoat for today's Two Minutes Hate.

Which is why... (4, Informative)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about 2 years ago | (#41380229)

I won't touch the stuff. My former dentist gave it to me for a toothache to last thru the weekend till I could be seen. Taking the recommended dose for 2 days and I was already hooked enough to experience withdrawal symptoms for the next 3 days. Unbelievable.

On the next two occasions where I was offered the drug after surgery I said no, just give me ibuprofen. It's just not worth it.

Re:Which is why... (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41380401)

"On the next two occasions where I was offered the drug after surgery I said no, just give me ibuprofen. It's just not worth it."

If Ibuprofen was good enough, you didn't have any real invasive surgery. If you had a real surgery, Ibuprofen wouldn't even have touched the pain, since it is an anti-inflamatory, not an opioid. This why it helps after a tooth extraction or a tension headache, for example. It won't do shit to stop the pain of being stabbed.

Re:Which is why... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#41380515)

I had surgery on my finger recently and didn't bother to fill the pain medication prescription (it's just a cut finger, come on). Ibuprofen DID help the pain significantly, and for a lot less than $18.40 for a single dose (all I would have needed).

Re:Which is why... (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 2 years ago | (#41380559)

The the pain was from inflammation or the effect was entirely related to the placebo effect

Re:Which is why... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about 2 years ago | (#41380581)

Appendectomy and cholecystectomy. I'd say both are pretty invasive. Of course in the hospital right after the surgery they gave me dilaudid or something similar (still bad, but highly limited in use). It was after that first day when they wanted to give me a Rx for a week's worth of oxycodone pills and I said no. Ibuprofen and tylenol, that was it. Just enough to take the edge off.

Re:Which is why... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380423)

Maybe you have a predisposition for dependency. I took hydrocodone for about two weeks after having surgery, and the only part about it that I enjoyed was being pain free. I was more than happy to not have to take it anymore once I had healed enough.

Re:Which is why... (2)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#41380499)

I took Oxycontin for kidney stones after increased tolerance from taking opiates over the years for kidney stones. With pain like that, it never goes away, but it made it tolerable. Apparently, I am an exception to the rule, but once the kidney stones were out of me, I felt no compulsion to take anymore. No kidney stones since, and nothing stronger than ibuprofen. Perhaps it is because I haven't gotten "high" off of a pain killer in 20 years. Regardless the reason, it really isn't black or white.

Re:Which is why... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#41380543)

The worst I had from taking the things for my dental surgery was a mild hangover like brain fuzz/ache after waking up each day.

Re:Which is why... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about 2 years ago | (#41380691)

Yeah, that's the withdrawal. For me it felt like I had the worst flu ever. Massive headache, body aches, chills, nausea. It was pretty awful. I actually had to continue taking it and wean down for 3 days.

Re:Which is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380811)

Hilarious. I had some lung surgery done a few months ago and spent a week in the hospital taking oxycodone every six hours to take the edge off the gross violation of my chest cavity by stiff plastic drain tubes. When I got out, they gave me a prescription for a week's supply but I never even considered taking a single one. Cut-up pectoral muscle and misfiring severed nerves and thick scar tissue between the ribs just don't compare to the pain you feel when foreign objects poke into your diaphragm and the walls of your rib cage from the inside. Seriously, the opiates were necessary while I was there if only so I could get some sleep.

Re:Which is why... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41380905)

withdrawal doesn't equal hooked.
You can have withdrawal symptoms from non addictive medications or drugs.

Patenting the active ingredient? (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#41380233)

I don't know how hard is was to introduce that time-release element. However easy it is to defeat it, it might just be a bit harder to come up with than "xyz with rounded corners" or "abc, but on teh interwebz", thus worthy of a patent. And if they indeed patented their proprietary time-release coating rather than the idea of applying such a coating to this specific ingredient, it would seem trivial for other pharma companies to circumvent the patent.

Re:Patenting the active ingredient? (0)

Stickerboy (61554) | about 2 years ago | (#41380377)

I don't know how hard is was to introduce that time-release element. However easy it is to defeat it, it might just be a bit harder to come up with than "xyz with rounded corners" or "abc, but on teh interwebz", thus worthy of a patent. And if they indeed patented their proprietary time-release coating rather than the idea of applying such a coating to this specific ingredient, it would seem trivial for other pharma companies to circumvent the patent.

The patent is not on oxycodone itself - there are a million and one generic variants out in the market already of immediate release oxycodone. The patent is the time-release mechanism. All a pharmaceutical company needs to do to "circumvent" that is to invent their own time-release mechanism for a pill of oxycodone.

Re:Patenting the active ingredient? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41380525)

If this was a computer thing, the company wouldn't have patented just their time-release system. They'd also have patented 'use of a time-release mechanism for delivery of drugs' to make sure someone else couldn't just invent an alternative.

While the pharmacutical industry is certainly very patent-driven, they havn't yet reached the point of routinely using the over-broad patents now common in computing and consumer electronics.

Re:Patenting the active ingredient? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380707)

ok, so i havent read their patent but i am a pharmaceutical chemist. For a generic drug to be released onto the market it has to show bioequivalence and the release profile from the dosage unit must be identical to the original medicine. For most immediate release tablets you cannot patent the profile as there is nothing new in drug dissolving from a tablet. If the patent was granted on the dosage unit which released drug over an extended time, which reduces the requirement for repeated dosing, then a generic manufacturer could not make a dosage unit thatwas the same for the time of the patent.
Anyone can still make oxycodone tablets and sell them. You could achieve a similar plasma concentration with repeated dosing but it would be less acceptable and so getting a product registered with the FDA would be hard.
There are only a few ways that sustained release dosage forms can be made and so it is not trivial to get around a patent as all the different sustained release forms would have been included n the patent.
It was not obvious that oxycodone is the best drug for chronic pain prior to the development of oxycontin.

whats happened to slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380247)

news for drug addicts. news that doesn't matter..

perhaps the editors should start going to meetings and find a higher power.

Calling Dr. Bob! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380251)

Big Pharma got me again.. I'm feeling all subflumuxed.. or something

CBC The Fifth Estate (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380315)

If you live in Canada, CBC put out an excellent documentary about Perdue Pharma labs and oxydone marketing: http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2011-2012/timebomb/

I like the effort at sensationalism... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380323)

Note: when trying to be sensationalist, pick some element that's not already common knowledge to the people you're trying to get agitated.

Yes. oxycodone is "legal heroin" -- i.e. a synthetic opioid that's supposedly just like heroin but safe and addiction-resistant, just as heroin was "legal morphine" -- a synthetic opioid that's supposedly just like morphine but safe and addiction-resistant. In both cases, it's not really a whole hell of a lot different (in heroin's case, it metabolizes to morphine; oxycodone is different and acts through a different receptor, so the "legal x" label is less justified), but a big pharmaceutical company persuades everyone it's safe, produces it for a while with no legal competition (because the drug is patented, and whatever drug it replaced is effectively banned), then everyone realizes it's just another opioid with all the risks you'd expect. Meanwhile, the manufacturer is rolling in profits from their restricted competition, and moves on to the next one.

Everyone knows this -- everyone knows the odds of any drug being able to deliver effective pain relief on the order of opioids being otherwise benign and non-recreationally usable is vanishingly low. But we play along, choosing to believe the new drug really is harmless this time, because we're scared that if anyone could legally sit around getting high all day until they go broke or OD, then everyone would, and because we're not willing to ban all painkillers for people who legitimately need them -- and the drug companies play along, persuading us each new drug is as safe as we want to believe, because they make big bucks.

It may be a lamentable state of affairs, but when everybody already knows about it, it's hardly any use for sensationalism...

Re:I like the effort at sensationalism... (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41380823)

oxycodone is different and acts through a different receptor

No, oxycodone acts primarily through the mu opioid receptor just like morphine.

Re:I like the effort at sensationalism... (3, Informative)

fafalone (633739) | about 2 years ago | (#41380897)

oxycodone is different and acts through a different receptor

No it doesn't. It has different selectivity and binding affinity among the subtypes of opioid receptors, but acts through the same receptor as heroin (i.e. predominantly the mu-opioid receptor) and every other drug classified as a full agonist opioid.

warning song from 1964 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380327)

From Codeine by Buffy Ste. Marie (1964) ...
When I was a young man I learned not to care
Wild whiskey, confronted I often did swear
My mother and father said whiskey is a curse
But the fate of their baby is many times worse
An' it's real, an' it's real, one more time

You'll forget your woman, you'll forget about man
Try it just once, an' you'll try it again
It's sometimes you wonder and it's sometimes you think
That I'm a-living my life with abandon to drink
An' it's real, an' it's real, one more time

Stay away from the cities, stay away from the towns
Stay away from the men pushin' the codine around
Stay away from the stores where the remedy is found
I will live a few days as a slave to codine
An' it's real, an' it's real, one more time ...

I had Oxy after my Donor surgery (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 2 years ago | (#41380345)

After I donated my Kidney to my son, I was given Oxy for pain management....I hardly used the PCA when I was still in the recovery/observation unit...the nurse had to remind me. So when they gave me the Oxy, I started taking it for a few days on a 6 hour schedule. I decided to hold a dose on the 3rd day I was taking it and the most pain I felt was the punching of the staples (the removed the kidney through my belly using laparoscopicprocedures) I did feel like crap though, run down and a little irritated. That is when I knew I did not need the Oxy. My pain was no worse but my body was getting used to it so I went cold turkey and tossed the remaining 30 day supply (CVS drug disposal bag)

Re:I had Oxy after my Donor surgery (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380503)

Why in hell would you throw away a legal supply of opiate painkillers ? You put 'em in the back of the medicine cabinet, and take them with you on camping trips and such, so if a member of your party has a real problem (crushed limbs, deep lacerations, etc.) you have something for the pain on the way back out, or (worst case) waiting for a medevac.

Re:I had Oxy after my Donor surgery (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380529)

I was on Oxy for 3 months for pain after cancer surgery on my kidney, it is an amazing pain killer, I tapered down my dose, and when I stopped, I was irritable for about 3 days. My surgery was not laporoscopic, so there was more pain. Oxy allowed me to get back on my feet, exercise and aided my recovery, It is NOT a drug to be taken lightly though, for the first time I experienced proper pain management.

I have read the lurid tales of withdrawal agony, placebo effect works both ways.

Re:I had Oxy after my Donor surgery (0)

drwho (4190) | about 2 years ago | (#41380599)

You should have kept the pills around for emergencies.

Let me guess what will happen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380373)

The same tards who whine and bitch about the "drug war" will whine and bitch about legal opiates.

This is nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380393)

It amazing how Americans justify always going/being on "meds" like it's some kind of cool thing. I left the US for Europe about 15 years ago and am shocked by the current drug culture/mentality that has taken hold there. I'm glad I don't live there any more.

Re:This is nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380617)

I wish more people would learn a lesson and be more like you.

Purdue Pharma are lyin' sacks of excrement (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380431)

My son died from an accidental overdose of Oxycontin and alcohol (moderate amounts of each) six months ago yesterday.

Purdue knows how addictive their product is; they could do something to at least radically alleviate the problem; they refuse to.

I have written much on this here:

http://this-machine-kills-pharma.posterous.com/

most recentlly (yesterday) here: http://this-machine-kills-pharma.posterous.com/occupy-purdue

Re:Purdue Pharma are lyin' sacks of excrement (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41380903)

As much as you want your son back, nobody can do anything to make mu opioid agonists less addictive. Purdue's marketing is absolutely dishonest, but if they had a way to make opioid analgesics non-addictive they would make a huge pile of money by displacing every other opioid analgesic on the market. Mu opioid receptors exhibit desensitization, that's just how they work.

I'm sorry to hear of your loss, and keep up the good fight.

"Big Pharma" (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41380469)

Nice way to bait the story and play right into class warfare concepts.

Breaking the addiction is easier than you think (5, Informative)

trentfoley (226635) | about 2 years ago | (#41380563)

I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer almost one year ago (7 Oct 2011) and have taken my share of oxycontin/oxycodone. All during chemotherapy, and especially after my surgery, I was taking oxycontin for base pain management, along with oxycodone for 'breakthrough' pain. My tumors responded to chemo wonderfully so that I was a candidate for surgery to have my primary tumor removed, colon ressected, metastatic liver tumors ablated, etc. At this point, I was taking 100mg oxycontin per day and an additional 50mg of oxycodone for 'breakthrough' pain. The narcotic effects slow down one's digestive system so much that I was also taking a shitload of stool softeners... pun intended.

By the time I finished my chemotherapy treatments (2 Jun 2012) I was thoroughly addicted to oxy. The only remaining pills I was taking were the pain meds and the stool softeners. I decided enough was enough and stopped taking oxycontin. It took a long week before I felt like myself again, escaping the cloudy buzz of oxy. Having gone through so much discomfort, I saw it as just another part of my recovery. Note: 'feeling like myself' is a relative term - after so much chemo, I wasn't myself anymore.

Now, my cancer is back and I'm starting chemo again this Thursday (20 Sep 2012). Having firsthand knowledge of addiction, kicking a 30+ year smoking habit and an oxy addiction, I will most likely resume taking oxy and get addicted all over again. Why? Because it helped me before. It will help me again. One week of mild discomfort from withdrawal symptoms is nothing compared to the pain and discomfort of chemotherapy.

Re:Breaking the addiction is easier than you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380721)

Is cannabis an option for you?

Re:Breaking the addiction is easier than you think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380813)

You are an idiot.

Re:Breaking the addiction is easier than you think (4, Interesting)

trentfoley (226635) | about 2 years ago | (#41380881)

Cannabis, of course, is ALWAYS an option :)

Re:Breaking the addiction is easier than you think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380819)

Best of luck in your struggle, Trent. My wife is an oncology nurse, so I know what you're going through and hope you can continue to keep us updated on /.

Re:Breaking the addiction is easier than you think (2)

waferbuster (580266) | about 2 years ago | (#41380829)

Best wishes on your upcoming therapy, I hope it works for you.

Here's the problem (3, Interesting)

Stickerboy (61554) | about 2 years ago | (#41380567)

15-20 years ago, doctors were written up and called out for not treating enough pain. As a profession, we understand intimately the inherent dangers of opioid pain medication, and we were hesitant to use them. But patients were hurting, articles were written, and I'm sure somewhere doctors were sued. So practices changed, "pain management" is now standard curriculum at medical schools and now look, deaths and hospitalizations from prescription pain medication are at all-time highs. Purdue was likely riding the wave of the change in pain management philosophy at the time when they introduced OxyContin. The right drug at the right time, etc.

What are the alternatives? (4, Insightful)

drwho (4190) | about 2 years ago | (#41380577)

After being the victim of a serious accident, I was in an enormous amount of pain. Oxycodone was a real goddsend. Maybe it takes a soul-shattering amount of pain to really appreciate the value of this drug. Yes, there are lots of addicts - but far more people are addicted to nicotiene. These slams against 'big pharma' for the black market in this drug are counter-productive and quite maddening. Doctors are becoming afraid to prescribe painkillers because they'll be accused of being 'pill doctors', so many people who don't know they have to advocate for themselves in this situation have to suffer unnecessarily. Tip: if you get a prescription, get as many pills as you can. Save some for later, because you'll never know when the anti-drug lobby will cut off the supply.

BTW this isn't news for nerds. Is this the new direction of Slashdot under new ownership? Rage-news in all categories, not just tech?

Re:What are the alternatives? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#41380765)

You think going after the doctors is scary? The DEA is trying to shut down pharmacies (Walgreens and CVS) that are filling legitimate pain medicine prescriptions with absolutely NO evidence of diversion. They are trying to simply revoke their license without any hearing or evidence or any procedure of any kind.

Re:What are the alternatives? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41380921)

Are pharmaceuticals not technology?

Re:What are the alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380931)

The alternative is a drug called "Man the fuck up and deal with it."

Oh, btw, hoarding a drug out of fear of scarcity is one sign of primitive addiction.

You belong in rehab, not a pain management clinic.

Eh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380601)

I was on Oxycontin for several weeks dealing with back pain (herniated disc pressing on the sciatic nerve). Came off it without too much of a problem when the pain subsided. People just need discipline when they're on stuff like opiates.

Cold Dead Hands (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380609)

Just had surgery two weeks ago, with lots of complications. Dilauded was fine in a PCS pump, but the hospital was not going to send me home on that. So I got oxy and fentanyl and it is just barely enough to keep me from passing out when wound dressings need changed. Then again, I've been through this many times. Last time I got high on narcotics was before pain pumps, when nurses just shot me up with 5ml every few hours.

Want advice on how not to get addicted? Don't take strong meds if it doesn't hurt. If you get any kind of buzz from the meds, the dose is probably too high. Best is if they just stop.the pain, but falling asleep is good too; having a good time and seeing things is too much. That won't work for some people with addiction problems, but if you can handle your beer and smokes, you can probably use medicinal narcotics safely too.

Risk Assessment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380701)

"implied that it was so difficult to abuse that the risk of addiction was 'under 1%.'""

and exactly how do they get these numbers. This is similar to the refinery insisting that their excess smoke here was harmless and compared it to perfume.

http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_21566565/wilmington-refinery-flare-sparks-complaints\

DEA written summary (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#41380739)

And the Anti-Drug lobby writes another opinion piece that medicine should not be treating pain and pharma is out of control by providing new pain management options.

The reason pain prescriptions have gone up is that medicine isn't telling people to take 2 asprin and fuck off. The reason my father has a fucked up GI system is because of the asprin abuse because he was never given the option of real pain management.

As a chronic pain sufferer I wish every one of these fucktards that think no one should be on pain management could experience a month of what I do every day. The constant thoughts of suicide, the near complete lack of life, enjoyment or any satisfaction in life, the exhaustion and the constant work just getting out of bed every day. There is a reason there is an ex law enforcement organization devoted to campaigning proper pain management and it's because some of those lucky people get to experience real chronic pain.

Someone that's never experienced chronic severe pain has no fucking idea what it's like.

Re:DEA written summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380933)

Most likely FDA written.

Nice concept (2)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 2 years ago | (#41380857)

So if you push your product to 1.000.000 people, you will get 1.000 very satisfied frequent returning customers.
Close to 0,999% is still under 1%. I'm sure if it was closer to 0,5% they would have said something like 'about 0,5%'.

SO that (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41380875)

added something tat makes it time release, thus fixing some of the major issues.
I am supposed to be outraged..why? Becasue something was out of patent, that made something new and patented it.

Well, that's how it's supposed to work.

Shit you should be applauding the successful and proper use of the patent system

The people that use this are TRULY addicts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380913)

(Sorry for the anon post.) My father was very sick for the last few months of his life. He was on Oxycodone.

THE SAME FUCKING DAY I flew into town and rushed to Mom's. After the initial hugs and crying I _had_ to excuse myself to the bathroom. Dad's pill bottles were lying empty on the floor. What the hell? I asked Mom about it and she broke down sobbing again. She'd received a couple of calls from people wanting to "express their condolences and uh, help her out by buying my dead father's prescriptions".

The man wasn't even in the ground yet.

+You FAIL it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41380935)

peopLe already; *I'm
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