Kentucky officials say curtailing prescription-pill abuse will suffer a major setback if a wave of generic painkillers reaches the market without safeguards. OxyContin and Opana ER patents are set to expire next year allowing for generic versions of the powerful drugs. The brand-name painkillers were popular sources for abusers until tamper-resistant formulas were added.
Some worry the cheaper generic versions won’t feature the same form of abuse deterrence. Without that, they could quickly become the drugs of choice for abusers in a state where more people die from drug overdoses than car wrecks.