Drug update: generics, rebranding

by Caleb Reading

Drugs that now have a generic on the market:

Allegra 60 and 180 (but not Allegra D yet) are now available as a generic, called Fexofenadine.

Amaryl (all strengths) now available as generic Glimepiride.

Some (not all) forms of Biaxin (Clarithromycin) are available as a generic.

Drugs that are supposed to be available as a generic soon:

Zithromax (in every form, including children’s liquids, except for the rebranded ZMax) will be available very soon under the name azithromycin. More on the rebrand later.

Concerta will soon be available as sustained-release Methylphenidate.

Other drugs that may be available soon (I use the word “soon” loosely) are Allegra D (fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine), Ambien (zolpidem), Flonase (fluticasone), Pravachol (pravastatin), Trusopt (dorzolamide), Zocor (simvastatin), Zofran (ondansetron), and Zoloft (sertraline)

Rebranding update:

Speaking of ZMax, about six weeks ago people from the local doctor’s office started bringing in vouchers for a free fill of Z-Max, which is very similar to a Z-pack but in a one-time use liquid. That’s cool, the cash price on a Z-pack at my workplace is just under $50, so a free ZMax is a good deal. But the cynic in all of us reared it’s head, and we said, “What do you want to bet Z-Pack is going generic soon?” Yep, get the doctors into the habit of writing for ZMax after the vouchers have run out, and you’ve (in a sense) “rebranded” a drug at the expense of all of us.

The cynic in me was still bristling at the thought that this nice gesture on Pfizer’s part was just a devious way to divert prescriptions away from a soon-available generic. This got my rant-mojo going, and later that day I wrote a post called “Long-overdue rant about drug rebranding.”

It’s been about six weeks now, and, sure enough, today I heard from one of our suppliers that they’ll have generic forms of zithromax available soon. Every form except, of course, the “new” ZMax.

Sometimes I hate to be right.