OTTAWA – Canada's federal government has allowed the approval process to proceed for the generic form of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, a move that set off a quick outcry from the country's provinces.
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq rejected a plea Monday from Canada's provinces, which unanimously requested a delay of approval until regulators could examine how oxycodone is abused. Ontario asked for a complete ban on the drug, which has caused widespread addictions in Canada's rural and tribal communities.
Aglukkaq told a news conference that federal laws don't allow regulators to simply ban a drug just because some people abuse it.
Her refusal to get involved in the process opens the way for generic oxycodone to win approval in Canada after the patent for the brand-name OxyContin expires on Nov. 25.