Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Several popular prescription drugs to be available as generics

(CNN Health report, 7/26/2011) According to the mail-order pharmacy Medco, at least 22 prescribed medications may be available as generics in the next year.

When drug companies develop a drug, the FDA usually grants them exclusive rights to market that drug for a set period of time. When those rights expire, other companies can make the exact same drug. Since there is competition, the generics are cheaper. The FDA says the regulations are “designed to promote a balance between new drug innovation and generic drug competition.”

The major drugs on the list for next year include:
Lipitor, a popular cholesterol drug, goes generic in November.
Solodyn, used to treat bacterial infections, November.
Zyprexa, which treats schizophrenia, October.
Lexapro, used to treat depression, March
Provigil, which treats sleep problems, April
Plavix, an antiplatelet drug which can prevent blood clots, May.
Singulair, an Asthma drug, August 2012.

Many of these drugs currently run between $100 and $400 for a 30-day supply.  There’s no clear indication how much cheaper the generic versions of the drugs will be, but for comparison the well-known depression drug Prozac, which became generic 10 years ago, now sells for less than $16 dollars for a one-month supply.

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