Purdue Pharma is using more than 150 children aged ages six to 16 in drug trials testing its powerful painkiller Oxycontin.
The Wall Street Journal and FiercePharma both report that Purdue Pharma will dose the group of children twice daily to test out the opioid prescription pain killer Oxycontin. Both reports infer that the tests will allow Purdue Pharma to hang on to their monopoly over Oxycontin for another 6 months which will bring them a possible extra $1.4 billion. FiercePharma reports that the Oxycontin's sales were worth $2.8 billion last year.
Also known by its generic name,Oxycodone is a strong narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone. It is thought to stimulate opioid receptors in the brain. and not necessarily stop pain but increase pain tolerance and also cause sedation and respiratory depression.
The UK Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and Education Centre state that "OxyContin addiction is a physical dependence that is unavoidable when an individual is exposed to high doses of the drug for a extended period of time. The addiction is so powerful that it produces cravings."
They also quote Jim Heins, a spokesperson for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, as saying that OxyContin has larger amounts of oxycodone than other pain killers such as Percodan or Percocet, "in some cases more than 10 times as much."