The Ministry of Health is changing PharmaCare coverage for OxyContin, a medication used to treat moderate to severe pain.
This follows the manufacturer's decision to discontinue production of OxyContin and market a new product called OxyNEO.
In line with several other provinces, beginning March 8, 2012, British Columbia is discontinuing PharmaCare coverage of OxyContin and will consider only exceptional case-by-case coverage requests for OxyNEO. OxyContin was previously a limited-coverage benefit through the PharmaCare's special authority program.
- For patients with current annual special authority approval for OxyContin, PharmaCare will continue coverage for OxyContin and OxyNEO until their special authority approval ends.
- Patients with current indefinite special authority approval will be granted 12-month transitional coverage until Feb. 28, 2013 for OxyContin and OxyNEO to allow time for them to work with their physician to assess their pain management treatment.
- Palliative care patients will continue to receive coverage for OxyContin and OxyNEO through PharmaCare.
The Ministry of Health supports appropriate pain management, but recognizes the risks associated with opioid addiction. OxyContin has been identified as a product targeted by those with opioid addiction. While the OxyNEO tablet is designed to be more difficult to crush, both products can be addictive and subject to abuse.
PharmaCare covers a number of other opioid medications for the treatment of chronic pain. Patients who currently take this medication for chronic pain are encouraged to work with their physician to assess their pain management treatment and switch to another treatment option if necessary.
With PharmaNet, physicians and pharmacists across B.C. have one of the best systems in the country for monitoring prescriptions and prescribing patterns for drugs, such as OxyContin. This includes registering patients in PharmaCare's Restricted Claimant Program, which reduces misuse by limiting certain patients to a single prescriber and/or a single pharmacy for medications with a potential for abuse.
The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons' Duplicate Prescription Program and Prescription Review Program ensure that drugs like OxyContin are securely and appropriately prescribed.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)