Tune in to “Intervention Junior”!
Reality television has given us such gems as “Jersey Shore” and “Intervention,” the kind of shows that are akin to watching a train wreck. Screaming matches, fist fights, tearful confessions of addiction…some people just can’t tear themselves away. Needless to say, the shows are pretty darn successful.
And wouldn’t it be wild if they were able to follow the success of “Intervention” with a new edition: “Intervention Junior”?
At least that could be the case if the makers of OxyContin have their way.
Their patent for the drug is set to expire next April. And you know what that means. It’s time for the good ol’ Big Pharma patent-extension grab.
Their chosen method is enrolling kids in a trial to test whether or not the drug would be safe for use in children between the ages of 6 and 16 who have “moderate to severe” pain. Yeah, they’re not even looking to restrict use of this highly addictive drug to youngsters who are in the most pain.
Even if the trial is a bust, it will still buy six additional months for the patent if it passes FDA review. That translates to about a billion dollars for the drug’s maker. All they have to do is take advantage of the inexplicable FDA incentive that rewards clinical drug trials. ANY clinical drug trials, apparently. (Is anyone else reminded of when Pfizer tried to pull the same thing with Viagra?)
Because here’s the thing. They might not even care if the drug can be used in kids. Which is both good news and bad news.
Good news because it means we don’t have to fear an epidemic of painkiller-addicted kids featured on the next hot reality show after all. Bad news because it means they’re subjecting the children in the trial to potential harm.
They’re being upfront about their disinterest in actually furthering medical science, too. A rep for the company came right out and told the Wall Street Journal that “[t]hese trials are not intended to promote the use of OxyContin in pediatric patients.” Obviously, the drug isn’t currently approved for use in children. And the company has said they will not be pursuing approval.
Of course it’s REALLY bad news because it’s a glaring example of just how broken the system is when it comes to regulating Big Pharma. Why is this company being permitted to make such a blatant money grab? The FDA will spend time and money reviewing a trial that is absolutely pointless, not to mention potentially harmful to the children who are enrolled.
P.S. Looking for the best way to protect your heart? Keep reading.
“OxyContin Trial Planned for Kids,” The Wall Street Journal (online.wsj.com)
“Company studying OxyContin’s effect in children,” The Chart (thechart.blogs.cnn.com)