Thousands of Counterfeit OxyContin® Tablets Seized by U.S. Customs Service

Source Press Release
Company Purdue PharmaEli LillyPfizer 
Tags Central Nervous System
Date December 04, 2002

Charlotte, NC -- December 4, 2002 -- Purdue Pharma  L.P. today reported that the United States Customs Service has seized thousands of counterfeit OxyContin® (oxycodone HCL controlled-release) Tablets intended for illegal sale to drug abusers. Company officials reported the seizures to law enforcement officials attending the annual meeting of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI). No counterfeit tablets have been found in any pharmacies or legitimate distribution venues.

"There is no indication that these counterfeit tablets were intended for distribution through legitimate pharmacy channels or for use in pain management for patients," stated Aaron Graham, Vice President of Corporate Security. "The Black Market value of these two seizures alone exceeds $1 million. While we are pleased that these shipments have been intercepted, it must be considered likely that other shipments of counterfeit tablets have made it into the U.S. for sale on the Black Market."

Custom officials seized one shipment of 20,000 counterfeit tablets that reportedly entered the US clandestinely through Boston's Logan International airport and another shipment of 7,000 counterfeit tablets at New York's John F. Kennedy International airport. The counterfeit tablets appear identical to OxyContin Tablets by visual inspection, however chemical analysis by the company revealed that the counterfeit tablets did not contain oxycodone - the analgesic ingredient in OxyContin Tablets.

"Greed and the profitability of counterfeiting medications are huge incentives for global drug traffickers," said Charlie Cichon, President of NADDI. "Medications like Viagra® and Prozac® have previously been counterfeited for illegal sale. Typically the counterfeit products are manufactured outside the United States."

Purdue is developing a chemical fingerprint library that will assist law enforcement in identifying common chemical characteristics and formulations with respect to independent counterfeit OxyContin seizures. The company is inviting law enforcement agencies that seize suspected counterfeit tablets to send samples to the company for complete analysis and chemical fingerprint comparisons against other known seizures. Additionally, Purdue's corporate security and law enforcement liaison personnel continue to work with federal, state and local law enforcement on prevention and education efforts to combat pharmaceutical drug diversion.

Paul Goldenheim, MD, Purdue's senior physician and Executive Vice president of Worldwide Research and Development, states that healthcare professionals and patients should feel confident that OxyContin Tablets available by prescription through reputable pharmacies and healthcare institutions should be considered authentic and safe for use as prescribed.

The professional product labeling for OxyContin® Tablets contains the following warnings:

WARNING:

OxyContin is an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance with an abuse liability similar to morphine.

Oxycodone can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit.This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing OxyContin in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion.

OxyContin Tablets are a controlled-release oral formulation of oxycodone hydrochloride indicated for the management of moderate to severe pain when a continuous, around-the-clock analgesic is needed for an extended period of time.

OxyContin Tablets are NOT intended for use as a prn analgesic.

OxyContin 80 mg and 160 mg Tablets ARE FOR USE IN OPIOID-TOLERANT PATIENTS ONLY. These tablet strengths may cause fatal respiratory depression when administered to patients not previously exposed to opioids.

OxyContin TABLETS ARE TO BE SWALLOWED WHOLE AND ARE NOT TO BE BROKEN, CHEWED, OR CRUSHED. TAKING BROKEN, CHEWED, OR CRUSHED OxyContin TABLETS LEADS TO RAPID RELEASE AND ABSORPTION OF A POTENTIALLY FATAL DOSE OF OXYCODONE.

Full prescribing information for OxyContin is available at .

This and other recent announcements are available on the Purdue Pharma  website at  .

Viagra® is a registered trademark of Pfizer , Inc.

Prozac® is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly  and Company

Source: Evaluate™
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