Pain-Pill Manufacturer Testing Oxycodone on 6-Year-Olds

Drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma is now testing its proprietary formula for OxyContin on children as young as 6, according to the Daily, in what appears to be a bid to extend the life of a patent set to expire next year.

OxyContin is a formulation of oxycodone, the opioid that for years was the scourge of South Florida, bringing customers from all over the southern United States to pill mills like those of Christopher and Jeff George, who shoveled out millions of dollars in bogus painkiller prescriptions to anybody who could snag a fake MRI. Another pill-mill operator, Vincent Colangelo, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday, and federal authorities confiscated 49 cars bought with drug money.

Purdue is pushing the Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug for use by children, ostensibly because it would help treat conditions causing serious pain. But Oxy is a critical part of Purdue's bottom line -- it's estimated to have pulled in $2.8 billion for the company last year alone, and the company was assessed $635 million in fines in 2007 after it was revealed that it intentionally misled the public and the medical field about how addictive the drug could be.

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So some of the Daily's sources are skeptical about the company's motives behind the most recent venture into pediatrics, with one expert saying, "They are doing [the pediatric trial] for patent exclusivity, there's no doubt about it in my mind -- not out of largesse."

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