David Wilson says the provinces were hoping for a delay so that regulators could examine how oxycodone is abused.
He says the decision means his province 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.
The decision released Monday by federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq could see generic oxycodone win approval in Canada after the patent for the brand-name OxyContin expires on Nov. 25.