Generic opioid-based prescription drugs should – like their brand-name counterparts – be reformulated to deter abuse, wrote 42 state attorneys general in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tamper-resistant versions of painkillers may help prevent common types of drug misuse such as crushing pills to snort them or dissolving medications for injection.
In the letter, the group of chief prosecutors thanked the FDA for requiring manufacturers of name-brand medications to change their formulas. However, they said that it was also necessary for generics to do the same.
"Ensuring that generic opioids, like their branded counterparts, have abuse-deterrent properties is a commonsense improvement that provides yet another important tool in the fight against our nation's prescription drug epidemic," the attorneys general said in the letter.
In another letter sent to the FDA earlier this year, the group expressed concern with the growing trend of drug abusers switching to generics because they didn't have tamper-deterrent features. It was also common, according to the group, for addicts to make the leap to street drugs like heroin.
In defense of their stance, the attorneys general cited a recent study that suggested that once the drug OxyContin was reformulated, the number of people choosing to abuse the drug went down by almost half.
Drug makers have been resistant to adding anti-abuse features, because they have said that the process would be prohibitively expensive. The law group has said that a reduction in abuse and death should be considered much more important than the price.