As you probably know, Purdue Pharma has reformulated OxyContin to curb abuse of the product, although it’s questionable how successful that attempt has been. (While some have already found ways to abuse the new version, known as OP, other ramifications include more people turning to painkillers like Opana and an increase in heroin addiction.) Now, another potent painkiller is looming on the horizon: Zohydro, a new version of hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin. San Diego-based Zogenix Inc. is seeking FDA approval to begin marketing the drug, but other pharmaceutical companies – including Purdue – are already working on their own versions. Hydrocodone is currently the second most-abused medicine in the U.S. behind oxycodone, and prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 Americans in 2008, surpassing the number of deaths due to car accidents.
It seems pretty convenient that just as Oxy is becoming potentially less lucrative, Big Pharma is moving on to greener pastures. Then again, are we really surprised?