I’ve been writing in Brandweek this week about companies that are reformulating opioid painkillers and the like so that they can’t be as easily abused by pill-popping addicts.
King, Purdue, Acura and Pain Therapeutics all have products in the pipeline that deliver pain medicine but make it harder for people to turn them into recreational drugs.
Here’s a couple more companies that didn’t make it into the story for space reasons:
- Alpharma in Bridgewater, N.J., filed in June to market Embeda, a morphine sulphate that has an embedded capsule of naltrexone hydrochloride inside. If the pill is crushed, the naltrexone renders the morphine inactive. Alpharma expects approval to launch by as early as the end of this year, according to Jack Howarth, vp-investor relations.
- And Elite Pharmaceuticals in Northvale N.J., is in late-stage trials of another naltrexone pill, this one combined with oxycodone.
The FDA seems keen on these products, so it’s surprising that these seemingly sensible developments have been met with hostility by investors. Ed over at Pharmalot detailed BioLogic Investment Research and Consulting’s finding that King and Acura’s Acurox would be a revenue deterrant. Here’s the original note.
What struck me about this topic is how Wall Street may be underestimating the desire of the public to see these drugs get to market. Some anecdotal evidence: My story on Brandweek was one of the most-read stories this week, and if you look at the comments section you’ll see that parents are very passionate about the need for companies to pull their heads out of the sand when it comes to medicine abuse.
This is an issue that crosses the OTC line — down the road, I predict much PR pain coming toward Shering-Plough regarding its position that Coricidin HBP should remain on drugstore shelves and not go behind the counter with its harder-to-abuse neighbor, Sudafed.