Nova Scotia to Limit OxyNeo Coverage

Health and Wellness

February 21, 2012 2:03 PM

The province is introducing restrictions to limit access to potentially addictive prescription drugs.

Starting March 1, government will no longer list the prescription painkiller OxyContin and its replacement OxyNeo as a benefit under the provincial Pharmacare program.

OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma will remove the brand from the Canadian market at the end of February and will replace it with a new formulation of long-acting oxycodone called OxyNeo.

"We know that prescription painkillers like OxyContin and its replacement OxyNeo are extremely addictive," said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. "Abuse of these types of prescription drugs is a problem here in Nova Scotia and across Canada, so we're making them less accessible."

The Atlantic Expert Advisory Committee, an independent advisory group composed of physicians, pharmacists and other drug therapy and drug use experts, has reviewed OxyNeo and recommended that it not be listed on the Nova Scotia Pharmacare formulary. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have also restricted access to the drug. Ontario and the federal drug plan covering First Nations and Inuit clients have introduced similar recommendations.

As of March 1, requests for new prescriptions for OxyContin or OxyNeo will not be covered by provincial Pharmacare. OxyNeo will only be covered for patients already receiving prescriptions for OxyContin.

The program will consider requests for OxyNeo on a case-by-case basis for cancer or palliative pain when other alternatives have failed or are not appropriate.

OxyNeo is not interchangeable with OxyContin. Nova Scotia Pharmacare beneficiaries changing to OxyNeo will require a new prescription if their physician decides it is appropriate for them to continue. Existing part-fill OxyContin prescriptions, which are filled in stages, will have to be rewritten for OxyNeo once the supply of OxyContin is depleted.

The Atlantic Expert Advisory Committee is reviewing oxycodone to determine its appropriate role in therapy for pain management.

More information about the provincial Pharmacare program is available at www.gov.ns.ca/health/pharmacare .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province is introducing restrictions to limit access to

potentially addictive prescription drugs.

     Starting March 1, government will no longer list the

prescription painkiller OxyContin and its replacement OxyNeo as a

benefit under the provincial Pharmacare program.

     OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma will remove the brand

from the Canadian market at the end of February and replace it

with a new formulation of long-acting oxycodone called OxyNeo.

     As of March 1, requests for new prescriptions for OxyContin

or OxyNeo will not be covered under Nova Scotia Pharmacare.

OxyNeo will only be covered for patients already receiving

prescriptions for OxyContin.

      The program will consider requests for OxyNeo on a case-by-

case basis for cancer or palliative pain when other alternatives

have failed or are not appropriate.

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Media Contact: Holly Dunn
              Department of Health and Wellness
              902-424-5478
              E-mail: holly.dunn@gov.ns.ca