Prescription drug abuse is a complex societal issue. The fifth estate has announced that it will broadcast a program including the marketing of OxyContin, but has refused to be specific as to information it is seeking from Purdue Pharma Canada. Purdue has offered to provide written responses to questions the fifth estate might have on this complex societal issue. However, nothing has been provided by the fifth estate. Accordingly, the following general information is being provided. We wish firstly to reiterate that all of Purdue Pharma Canada’s marketing activities are conducted in accordance with Canadian pharmaceutical marketing regulations. These regulations are very different from what is found in the U.S. In Canada, all promotional material for OxyContin received prior approval from the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) to ensure that it was accurate, balanced and evidence-based. All educational materials sponsored by Purdue are developed by independent experts based on current medical recommendations and best practices at the time. Purdue requires that all of its medical sales representatives undergo rigorous training on product and disease state knowledge as well as on ethical practices. Our sales representatives are monitored closely for compliance with rules and regulations governing the marketing of pharmaceuticals in Canada. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously. We have long advocated for careful patient selection and appropriate prescribing and we support physician education for this purpose. In addition, we have suggested that stricter controls must be placed on controlled drugs in Canada – including easy-to-implement and common sense measures such as limits that restrict prescriptions for strong pain-relievers to no more than 30 days, as well as programs to take back and properly destroy unused or expired prescription medication. We are puzzled by the lack of response by regulators to many of these common sense suggestions. Health Canada’s Scientific Advisory Panel recommended that manufacturers introduce new opioids which are less crushable and less abusable. OxyNEO is the first of such products on the market designed to be resistant to crushing and paradoxically it now faces significant restrictions for new patients in most provinces. We find it particularly surprising that many provincial governments have recently decided to limit access to OxyNEO to curb opioid abuse, while failing to take common sense action on other fronts over the years or to recognize the positive benefits of OxyNEO as part of an overall narcotics strategy. While Purdue does not claim that OxyNEO will prevent all tampering for the purpose of drug diversion, misuse and abuse, we believe OxyNEO is a step in the right direction and part of what should be a comprehensive narcotics strategy. Given the current situation, we are deeply concerned that these decisions to limit access to OxyNEO will compromise optimal care for pain patients. Purdue Pharma Canada will continue to work collaboratively with health authorities to ensure that the patients who need our medicines have access to them and to support initiatives which encourage the responsible use of pain medicines.

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