OxyContin Being Tested On Kids... So Drugmaker Can Get 6 More Months Of Patent Protection

from the skewed-priorities dept

Want a sense of just how screwed up the incentives of our patent system are today? Purdue Pharma, the makers of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, is now running clinical tests to get the FDA to approve its use for kids as young as 6-years-old. Why? Because the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act section 505A includes a little "gift": if drugmakers conduct clinical studies for their drugs with kids, they can get six more months of patent protection. So even if they don't even sell OxyContin to six year olds, just securing the extended patent, thanks to the massive monopoly rents given to drugs still on patent, Purdue is likely to profit massively. Lots of people are reasonably troubled by this:
“They are doing (the pediatric trial) for patent exclusivity, there’s no doubt about it in my mind — not out of largesse,” said Dr. Elliot Krane, director of pain management at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. “That’s important for their bottom line.”
Of course, some will argue that if this provides better drug availability to kids, and those drugs really help the kids, then perhaps this isn't a bad thing. But, no matter what, the incentives here are highly questionable.

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  1. icon
    Teresa (profile), 5 Jul 2012 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re:

    What neither of these 2 stories said, was that its a small test of 157 children in the US, ages 6-17, who are already opioid-tolerant, and are experiencing extreme pain from cancer, post-operative pain, and severe burns.

    http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/03/pharma-company-studying-oxycontins-effect-in-chil dren/

    If your child had severe burns, and you had the choice of giving them Oxycontin to remove the pain entirely, or giving them lesser pain meds and them still being in pain, what would you choose?

    Now, I'm not saying Purdue is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts (more like to increase their wallets), but its not a bad thing that they're doing this testing.

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