The epidemic of addiction and abuse spawned by OxyContin is well documented, prompting even its manufacturer to replace the narcotic painkiller with a pill it claims is harder to abuse. Now, with the patent expiring on the original drug in two weeks, some provincial health ministers have made an unprecedented request of the federal government: prohibit generic versions of the prototype from coming on the market and opening up a new, far-cheaper supply of so-called Hillbilly heroin. […] In fact, if Health Canada concludes the generic versions of the medicine are biologically equivalent to the already li-cenced, brand-name original, it has no choice but to approve them, said Richard Gold, a leading intellectual property expert at McGill University. "It just seems like a very odd thing to ask for, because anyone who has read the legislation and knows the process would know this just doesn't make sense," Prof. Gold said. "The actual banning of the drug itself and complete refusal I don't think is on the table."
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