JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The new harder-to-crush version of the opioid pain reliever OxyContin® has a lower street price than the original formulation, according to research revealed at a conference of law enforcement officers today. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that 100 people die every day from drug overdoses in the United States, 74% involving prescription opioid pain relievers. A new formulation of OxyContin, OxyContin OP, was launched in 2010, accompanied by hope that it would deter drug abuse, injection and overdose. A year later, researchers have shown that the new formulation sells for 28% less than the original, OxyContin OC, on the black market, using street-price data from the RADARS® System StreetRx.com, a crowdsourcing website recently featured in Fortune magazine. The price per milligram of the new difficult-to-crush OxyContin was $0.56, compared to $0.78 for the original during the first half of this year. A survey of law enforcement officers from the RADARS System Drug Diversion Program yielded similar results.
The results were presented by Nabarun Dasgupta at the 22nd Annual Educational Training Conference of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), in Jacksonville, Florida, one year after StreetRx.com was launched at the same conference. Established in 1989, NADDI is a unique organization whose hundreds of members are responsible for investigating and prosecuting pharmaceutical drug diversion throughout the United States. The audience, comprised mostly of law enforcement officials, confirmed the lower street price of the new formulation. “As the pharmaceutical industry tries to engineer new drugs that are harder to crush, snort or inject, the unregulated free market of diverted prescription drugs can reveal how effective these efforts are,” says Dasgupta. “In the end, these products will be judged by the human suffering they cause or prevent. Black-market street prices can tell us that story ahead of time.”
The Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System (www.radars.org) is a surveillance system run by Denver Health for measuring rates of abuse, misuse and diversion throughout the United States, contributing to the understanding of trends and aiding the development of effective interventions. StreetRx.com and Drug Diversion Program are components of the RADARS System. Street-price data is collected from 125 prescription drug diversion investigators and regulatory agencies who are surveyed quarterly as part of the RADARS System Drug Diversion Program, a study conducted by Dr. Hilary Surratt of Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. StreetRx.com is a website that assembles and organizes crowdsourced information about the black-market price of prescription drugs. The street market for prescription medications—such as Vicodin®, Adderall®, and fentanyl—comprises a vast underground economy that is little studied and poorly understood. Launched by public-health researchers at Epidemico, Boston, Massachusetts, StreetRx closes this knowledge gap, providing an extensive, searchable database of the latest street-price data.
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