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23Oct/110

Big-name drugs like Lipitor going generic

Lipitor, Plavix and Provigil are but a few of the popular prescription drugs that are about to get a lot cheaper.
At least 22 prescribed medications may be available as cheaper generics in the next year, according to the mail-order pharmacy Medco. And if you wait until 2020, you can add the ever-popular Viagra to the burgeoning list. Erectile dysfunction rival Cialis is due in 2018. And Boniva, Sally Field’s osteoporosis drug, is coming in 2023.
Lipitor, the popular cholesterol drug, goes generic in November, along with Solodyn, which is used to treat bacterial infections. Zyprexa, which treats schizophrenia and depression, went public in October. March 2012 sees the arrival of Lexapro, a drug used to treat anxiety and depression, followed in April by Provigil, which treats sleep problems. Plavix, an antiplatelet drug which can prevent blood clots, is due next May. Singular, the asthma drug, goes generic next August.
Pfizer hopes to beat its rivals to the punch by introducing an over-the-counter version of Lipitor, the world’s best-selling drug, after it loses its patent protection, according to a report in The New York Times. Selling a version of the drug to consumers without a prescription would allow Pfizer to retain some of the $11 billion in annual revenue that Lipitor has been generating. But Lipitor would first have to convince the Food and Drug Administration that consumers sould take the drug without a doctor’s supervision, and that will be difficult.
Whatever Pfizer decides to do, and it neither confirms nor denies its intentions, the drug’s availability as a generic can only save patients a great deal of money. And when generics arrive, even the name brands drop down in price.
That’s the big advantage with generics, said Dr. Jeffrey Zoelle of Sergeant Bluff Family Medicine.
“Just like competition in any field of endeavor, it brings the price down,” he said.
Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety and strength of the original drug. They’re exactly the same, Zoeller said.

 

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