U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer is warning about the scheduled release of a generic form of the painkiller Oxycodone coming next month which he says lacks protections against abuse incorporated into the brand name version of the painkiller.
"We are in the midst of a prescription drug abuse epidemic and allowing these pills on the street with no anti-abuse mechanisms would open the floodgates even further," said Schumer. "Pills that are easily crushed or altered are far more valuable than the versions that can't be tampered with, making pharmacies and people that carry them a target for violent thieves. The FDA should ensure that these generic pills have equivalent protections as their branded counterparts, for everyone's safety."
Schumer held a press conference Sunday calling on the Food and Drug Administration to require that the same "anti-abuse" protections be used in generic version as in the existing drug. In a statement released later he said that the branded versions of the pills turn to gels or chunks when broken, making it impossible to inject or snort the contents. Currently the FDA doesn't require the generic version to have such features.
Opioid painkillers such as Oxycodone are often targeted in prescription drug robberies and have been responsible for more overdoses since 2003 than heroin and cocaine combined, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.