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Citing safer alternatives, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation on Friday announced it will no longer include the painkiller OxyContin in its prescription drug formulary for injured workers, starting June 1.
OxyContin — whose manufacturer, Purdue Pharma LP, has been targeted in numerous lawsuits in connection with the nation’s opioid crisis — will be replaced with what the bureau’s chief medical officer, Dr. Terry Welsh, referred to in a statement as an “an equally effective but harder-to-abuse drug” named Xtampza ER, another narcotic and brand name for generic drug oxycodone.
“Xtampza is a sustained-release form of oxycodone, like OxyContin, but it utilizes a unique abuse-deterrent technology that makes it difficult to manipulate — crush, snort or inject — for aberrant use,” said Dr. Welsh in the statement. “Thanks to technology, this just seems like the next responsible step to protect our injured workers from potential addiction and overdose death to dangerous drugs.”
Dr. Welsh said the bureau will phase out the use of OxyContin and generic oxycodone sustained-release tablets over time, following best clinical practices and consultation with prescribing physicians.
The move was recommended by bureau’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, made up of pharmacists and prescribing physicians who advise the bureau on matters regarding appropriate prescription and authorization of medicines, according to the statement.
A spokesman for Purdue Pharma on Friday emailed to Business Insurance a statement dated Sept. 24, 2018, that disputes whether certain formulas are safer, claiming that “inaccurate characterizations of these different formulations may lead to a false sense of security by patients and/or their health care providers.”
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia unanimously affirmed a decision discontinuing the use of OxyContin by an injured worker.