New Zealand First is asking the Government to investigate the over-prescription of a dangerous painkiller that has been implicated in the deaths of five people.
New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Barbara Stewart says “since Pharmac started subsidising oxycodone in 2005, prescriptions have shot up so quickly that it is now being prescribed more often than morphine.
“But oxycodone is a drug that is highly addictive and dangerous. It should only be prescribed for severe pain.
“On the datasheets for oxycodone, which is an opiate, it is noted that it should be prescribed and handled with a degree of caution as the drug has strong abuse potential.
“Yet many doctors are going to it as a first choice drug instead of as a final option for severe pain relief.”
Mrs Stewart says coroners’ figures show that oxycodone had contributed to five deaths in New Zealand over the past two years.
“This is a drug that’s causing innocent people seeking pain relief to become addicted. It is putting New Zealander’s lives and families at risk.
“The Government needs to take action to ensure doctors aren’t prescribing oxycodone when other less-harmful drugs are available.
“It is easier for many people to stop taking morphine than to stop taking oxycodone,” says Mrs Stewart.
Source: NZ First