It is virtually impossible to be unaware of the huge (and growing) problem of opiate addiction in the US. While traditional narcotics (Percocet, Vicodin) have always been abused drugs, it is OxyContin that gets most of the news and rightfully so. OxyContin contains 5-10 fold more oxycodone than a Percoset pill, and lacks the acetaminophen as well. As such, it has attracted much interest among opiate abusers.
Yet, despite the initial effort of its makers( Purdue Pharma) to make it less prone to abuse, addicts found that they could crush the pill and smoke the powder a process that made the anti-abuse technology worthless. Purdue eventually came up with a new formulation that pretty much put a stop to this, and filed a patent on the pill with the new formulation.
Generic drug companies, of course, wanted a piece of the action, but they were shot down big time by the FDA.
In his op-ed in Medical Progress Today, Dr. Josh Bloom argues that Purdue clearly earned the right to exclusively market the new formulation. You can read his opinion here.