As the opioid epidemic grew, Endo Pharmaceuticals took the extraordinary step in 2012 of pulling a design of one of its best-selling painkillers off the market, saying in which the narcotic was susceptible to abuse.
Endo even unsuccessfully sued the US Food as well as Drug Administration in which year to prevent the approval of any generic design of its drug, called Opana ER. The drugmaker argued in which given a chance, drug abusers would likely crush as well as snort the generic pills, just as they had with the brand-name drug. Snorting intensifies the high yet heightens the chance of overdosing.
the idea seemed as though a drug maker was taking selfless action to try to curb the growing opioid epidemic. yet some industry observers say the story of Opana ER may better illustrate the lengths a drug company would likely go to in order to protect its profits.
Endo introduced a completely new formulation of Opana ER before phasing out the old one, selling two versions of the drug at the same time. Both drugs had the same active ingredient, oxymorphone. Both were extended-Discharge pills for long-lasting effects. Both were called Opana ER.
The difference was in which the completely new design had a few different inactive ingredients, including a hard coating in which made the pills harder to pulverize. Even so, addicts quickly learned how to cook the completely new painkiller as well as inject the liquid having a syringe.
Endo contended in which the completely new Opana ER as well as its hard coating deterred abuse, yet This specific summer, the FDA disagreed. In June, the regulatory agency concluded in which the risks of completely new crush-resistant Opana ER outweighed its benefits as well as pressured Endo to stop selling the idea. the idea was once the FDA had taken steps to stop sales of a currently marketed opioid because of the consequences of abuse.
Endo agreed to halt shipments of Opana ER starting September 1. yet in which’s not the end of the drug’s story.
Endo still has the patent on the original design of the drug, the one the idea fought to keep off the market. The FDA’s action This specific summer didn’t impact the crushable design Endo stopped selling in 2012.
So on August 8, Endo cut a deal with Impax Laboratories to split the profits of a generic design of its original drug. Endo is usually at This specific point poised to make money coming from a drug in which the idea said shouldn’t be on the market.
‘the idea just doesn’t seem right’
Endo’s efforts to profit coming from a drug in which the idea said was susceptible to abuse raises ethical questions, inside opinion of one member of the FDA advisory committee in which recently reviewed Opana ER.
Endo defended its decision to cut the deal with Impax.
“The FDA is usually charged with — as well as makes — the sole determination of whether pharmaceutical products are safe as well as effective,” the company told sy88pgw.
“In June 2017, the FDA requested in which Endo voluntarily withdraw the formulation of Opana ER in which is usually designed to be crush resistant due to unintended use as well as misuse. … In July 2017 the Company, after careful consideration, decided to voluntarily withdraw the idea coming from the market. inside case of the prior formulation of Opana ER, the FDA determined in which the product should remain on the market.”
The FDA declined to comment on why the idea left the generic design on the market yet told sy88pgw the idea is usually assessing the abuse patterns for in which drug.
History of keeping generics off the market
Endo Pharmaceuticals incorporates a long history of trying to keep generic versions of Opana ER off the market. Because generic drugs are so similar to their brand-name counterparts, a generic drug’s maker can piggyback off the FDA approval of the brand-name drug.
The FDA approved oxymorphone as a painkiller in 1959, yet the pill form was voluntarily taken off the market in 1982. Endo decided 15 years later to revive the drug as an extended-Discharge pill. In 2006, the FDA approved Opana ER.
The extended-Discharge pill comes in higher doses in which are slowly released inside body for up to 12 hours. Opana ER is usually more potent than its two competitors, morphine as well as oxycodone, as well as was intended for use for moderate to severe pain for patients who needed 24-hour relief.
yet as in which date drew near, Endo tried again to keep Impax coming from selling a generic design of Opana ER.
Endo filed the FDA lawsuit only about a month before Impax was scheduled to sell the generic drug. The drugmaker urgently sought a decision by the end of the year. yet the FDA persuaded the court to dismiss the lawsuit, telling the idea “Endo’s self-inflicted December 31 deadline is usually a thinly-veiled attempt to maintain its market-share as well as block generic competition coming from Impax.”
Opana ER was one of Endo’s best-selling brand-name drugs. In 2012, net sales of the narcotic amounted to nearly $300 million, or 10% of Endo’s total revenues.
Endo said the idea introduced a crush-resistant design of Opana ER “in recognition of increased reports of the potential for abuse as well as misuse” of the original formulation.
However, the FDA says Endo never told the idea about these safety concerns until months after the idea began selling the crush-resistant pill as well as phasing out the original one.
inside lawsuit, the FDA asked why Endo continued to sell original Opana ER if the idea thought the drug was unsafe.
Allowed to join the lawsuit, Impax put the idea more bluntly: “Contrary to its insincere concern about public safety, Endo distributed the allegedly ‘dangerous’ Opana ER for years, as well as then apparently continued distributing the idea for up to nine months even after obtaining approval to market (crush-resistent) Opana ER.”
The FTC alleged in which Endo paid Impax more than $110 million for the delay. The federal lawsuit also alleged in which Endo launched its crush-resistant pill “to protect as well as extend its Opana ER franchise inside face of potential generic entry.”
Abuse of completely new drug goes up
In March of This specific year, an FDA advisory committee held two days of hearings on crush-resistant Opana ER. The group concluded by a vote of 18-8 in which the risks of the newer design of the drug outweighed its benefits.
Endo told sy88pgw in which the deal “allows Endo to be fairly compensated for Impax’s license to use Endo’s valuable intellectual property in offering the product for use as intended.”
Last year, Impax made $72.7 million coming from sales of the generic drug. Endo’s sales of Opana ER amounted to about $159 million last year.
During a recent conference call with investors, Paul Bisaro, president as well as chief executive officer of Impax, said, “I think our challenge will be to make sure in which patients as well as caregivers understand in which if their patients are on oxymorphone extended-Discharge product because they prefer in which, in which in which product remains available.”
Asked by sy88pgw about the safety of the generic, Impax issued a statement: “Patient safety is usually very important to us. We believe in which our product is usually an effective therapy for patients with chronic pain when used as directed by a physician as well as in accordance with the label/package instructions.”
sy88pgw’s Caitlin Ostroff contributed to This specific report.