Generic drug update and drug rebranding update

by Caleb Reading

Now available as a generic:

Yasmin

Wondering why you’ve been seeing alot of ads for Yaz? That’s because it’s almost exactly like Yasmin but they changed the dose on one of the two ingredients 0.01 mg to get a new patent. That’s not a typo. One one-hundredth of a milligram.

Back in May, GlaxoSmithKline got FDA approval for Requip XL. In other words, the non-extended release Requip was about to go generic.  Requip (ropinirole) is now available as a generic (not the extended release). The total cash price on the generic is still around $1/pill right now, but that’s still much less than brand name Requip and the “new” Requip XL. Plus the generic should actually drop in price pretty soon.

More on rebrandings:

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned Veramyst nasal spray here before. It’s Fluticasone Furoate. It’s of course a total coincidence that it was patented just as Fluticasone Propionate (Flonase) went generic. The furoate is a once daily and the propionate is a twice-daily, but alot of our patients only need to use the propionate once daily (meaning the furoate would be too high of a dose for them, and cost a ton more to boot).

Speaking of Flonase, did you notice that when Flonase stopped running those ads (since it was about to go generic), there started to be a whole lot more ads for Nasonex and Astelin? It’s not because those drugs were suddenly different. It’s because Flonase stopped advertising.

Now I’m going to talk about three rebrand drugs that have been out awhile but drug reps have been going around lately trying to get doctors to write for them, at the patients’ expense.

Tarka is Trandolapril and Verapamil. The first ingredient is brand name Mavik. We have no patients on this drug because there are better, less expensive, and more extensively-studied blood pressure medications out there. The second ingredient, verapamil, is available as a generic in both capsules (Verelan) and tablets (Calan). FYI – the tablets are much, much cheaper. Tablets are almost always cheaper than the capsules, when both are available.

Azor is Amlodipine and Olmesartan. The first ingredient is Norvasc, which went generic about the same time Azor got a patent (which is, of course, totally a coincidence . . .). The second ingredient is Benicar, which isn’t going to go generic for awhile. We don’t have many patients on Benicar because there are other blood pressure medications most patients switch to when they find out they can’t afford Benicar.

Pristiq is desvenlafaxine. Sound familiar? Well, there was Venlafaxine (Effexor) that was not an extended release drug. Then, you see, Effexor was about to go generic (and now it is generic), so an extended release version was patented and advertised (Effexor XR). Most patients on the regular were switched over to the XR, so when the regular went generic, hardly anyone was still on it. Since Effexor XR will go generic in about 18 months, Pristiq is the new hotness. The timing of all this is, of course, coincidental.

I’m going to stop typing now. I’m paying a more than a third of every single paycheck just for crappy catastrophe health coverage with a $2,500 deductible, while drug company CEOs live in freaking mansions and get six-figure bonus checks to repackage a drug and advertise it directly to consumers who don’t know or understand what these things really are. If I think about this too long I’m going to have a damn nervous breakdown. I work in health care and can’t afford healthcare. What the hell is wrong with this picture?

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