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A comparison of the street price of original and reformulated OxyContin® and immediate release (IR) oxycodone products

      Nonmedical use of prescription opioids such as OxyContin® (oxycodone HCl controlled-release) Tablets has continued to rise throughout the past decade. Purdue Pharma introduced reformulated OxyContin in August 2010, a formulation that has physicochemical barriers to tampering in an attempt to deter individuals from abusing OxyContin. The current analysis examined whether reformulated OxyContin (ORF) had a lower street price than original OxyContin and IR oxycodone products. Law enforcement officials participating in the Drug Diversion program of the RADARS® System completed a questionnaire assessing the price of diverted prescription drugs during active study quarters between the 1Q2010 and 2Q2011. The geometric mean of reformulated OxyContin was compared to the price of original OxyContin and IR oxycodone products in the period before (1Q 2010), during transition (3Q and 4Q2010), and post (1Q and 2Q 2011) introduction of ORF. The geometric mean street price of original formulation OxyContin was relatively steady at $0.80 per mg pre-ORF and $0.81 post-ORF periods. The geometric mean street price for IR oxycodone increased from $0.82 to $0.95 per mg from the pre- to post-ORF periods. The geometric mean of the price per mg of reformulated OxyContin was $0.65 per mg, which is 22% lower (95% CI: 6-35%, p<0.008) than original OxyContin and 31% lower (95% CI: 18-43%, p<0.001) than IR oxycodone products in the post-introduction period. These findings suggest that reformulated OxyContin possesses less street value than other drugs within the oxycodone drug class reflecting reduced demand for reformulated Oxycontin relative to the original formulation and IR oxycodone. However, additional research is needed to determine whether a reduction in demand reflects a decrease in abuse.
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