Pharmacist Steve Bond, in St. Thomas, ON, displays the to-be-discontinued OxyContin on the left and the replacement OxyNeo tablet on the right.
Credits: ROBERT CHAULK/QMI AGENCY
Officials from the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy and Montana's attorney general relayed concerns to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq about ripple effects in America, where OxyContin is no longer available.
Pharmacists, medical groups and provincial governments also raised concerns, but six major drug companies were allowed to start producing generic Oxy last Monday following a scientific review by Health Canada.
Aboriginal leaders in northern Ontario have also decried the approval due to an Oxy "epidemic" in their communities.
But Aglukkaq maintains the fed don't have the legal capacity to intervene.
"I think it is fundamentally wrong for politicians to interfere with the approval process of drugs," Aglukkaq said.
The U.S. now only sells a version of the opioid medication called OxyNEO, which is supposed to be more tamper-proof.