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Oswald wants a hold on generic OxyContin

OTTAWA should delay the upcoming regulatory approval of a generic form of the powerful and addictive painkiller OxyContin, Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald said Wednesday.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has already told her provincial and territorial counterparts she won't interfere in the approval process.

"I think it's a shame that that decision has been made," Oswald said. "The evidence is quite clear that OxyContin is creating devastation in every jurisdiction in Canada."

Oswald said she understands the Nov. 25 approval is mandated under Canada's Food and Drugs Act, but added the Harper government could delay the approval by amending the act. "She has the power to do that as a legislator, and her caucus would have the power to do that," Oswald said.

She said the Food and Drugs Act should be amended to consider the social impact of oxycodone, a drug that's highly addictive and known as "hillbilly heroin."

Ottawa will tighten licensing rules so oxycodone distributors will have to keep better track of where the drug goes. Starting in 2013, distributors must report spikes in sales and changes in distribution patterns, in addition to previous responsibilities of reporting losses and theft.

In March 2010, new prescriptions for OxyContin in Manitoba were restricted to cancer patients or those with chronic conditions who can't tolerate or benefit from other medications.

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