Nova Scotia’s health minister says he’s disappointed Ottawa has decided to go ahead with the approval process for the generic form of the highly-addictive prescription drug OxyContin.

While Health Canada will have the final say, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq’s decision not to intervene paves the way for other companies to produce OxyContin, making it more widely available. The patent on the brand-name OxyContin expires Nov. 25.

Nova Scotia’s David Wilson is concerned that could lead to more addictions issues. He said the provinces were hoping for a delay so that regulators could examine how oxycodone is abused.

In announcing her decision, Aglukkaq said she was concerned that a ban would limit access to the drug for those who legitimately need it.

She also announced measures however that will require any company distributing oxycodone to report any spikes in sales to police.

Aglukkaq is calling on the provinces to crackdown on doctors and pharmacists that allow addicts and dealers to easily get their hands on the drug.

“If the country is flooded with prescription drugs, it can only be in part because some medical professionals are making it possible,” Aglukkaq told a news conference.

David Wilson said the decision means N.S. will have to continue to work to bolster its own addiction services.
Wilson says the federal government can help those efforts by providing appropriate funding levels through the health transfer.

He says the province will work with the Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons and with pharmacists to continue to examine the rules around the prescribing and dispensing of opiates.