Saturday, August 04, 2001

Attorneys want judge to limit Oxy

Drug's prescription guidelines outlined in memorandum

By Amanda York
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A group of lawyers suing the maker of the painkiller OxyContin has asked a U.S. District Court judge to issue restrictions on the powerful synthetic morphine's distribution and dissemination in Kentucky.

        The lawyers from Cincinnati and Kentucky filed on Friday a memorandum for an injunction in U.S. District Court's London division. This is the second injunction requested by Kentucky lawyers Bill Hayes and Peter Perlman. The first dealt with restricting the 80mg OxyContin tablets.

        The injunction also requests that Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the drug, stop using its Web site, Partners Against Pain, to promote the “overuse of OxyContin and ... prohibit Purdue Pharma from making claims concerning the safety and efficacy of OxyContin, which have already been found by the FDA to be false and misleading.”

        A Purdue Pharma representative said the company had not seen a copy of the injunction and could not comment on its specifics.

        Purdue Pharma has defended its product, a narcotic for moderate to severe pain, saying people who properly take the tablet will not become addicted.

        “Any attempt by lawyers to try and dictate to patients and physicians what medication they should have is an affront to sound medical care,” a Purdue Pharma representative said.

        In the memorandum, the plaintiffs requested physicians who prescribe the drug comply with the following: limit prescriptions to a 30-day supply, give no refills without a thorough re-examination of the patient and issue a contract between the patient and physician that explains risks associated with OxyContin.

        Since April there have been 13 lawsuits filed against the company. All the lawsuits allege the drug was “aggressively marketed.” U.S. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., wants the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee to hold a hearing on the painkiller.

        In a letter to the committee chairman, Mr. Warner cited the seriousness of OxyContin abuse and the important benefits when appropriately prescribed.

        The Associated Press contributed.


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