Generic drugs coming in 2009 (maybe)

by Caleb Reading

Here’s a list of drugs that should go generic this year, assuming the brand company doesn’t sue the first generic company that files an ANDA with the FDA.  The brand companies do this so they can get an automatic 18-month patent extension while the case is pending, no matter how frivolous it is.  At least they’re only allowed to get one extension now; they used to be able to get several.

I’ll arrange the list in order of how soon they’re supposed to be available (the operative word here is “supposed”).  I’m also going to list the drug’s 2007 retail sales and any comments I have about it (of course I’ll have comments).


Zeric  [$51 million]



Glyset [$7 million]


APRIL 2009

Topamax [$2 billion]  — Really glad this is going generic, as common as this drug is.

Casodex [$220 million]



Ambien CR [$980 million] — I begrudge the existence of this drug so very, very much.  $980 million!  Argh. I’ve posted about this before here.    This is what I said then:

Since Ambien is going generic soon, you’ve probably already seen the ads for Ambien CR. Yep, they’ve been telling people to be sure to get their free 7 day trial, and, hey, while you’re at it, why not get a prescription for the CR instead of the generic immediate-release form?

The thing that really cracks me up about this situation is that a CR form is counterintuitive for this drug, since you need a quick interaction with GABA in order to fall asleep in the first place, and, if the half-life were extended, it might be that much harder to not be groggy the next day. Granted, part of this new CR form dissolves immediately to help you fall asleep, and the rest dissolves slowly “to help you stay asleep.” Seems like a recipe for next-day-grogginess to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if the CR form turned out to have more next day side effects (but, of course, it’s more profitable, so the drug reps will sing its praises).

I just find it more than a little convenient that this is being released, with accompanying marketing blitz, right before Ambien is set to go generic. Gotta get everyone to tell their doctor to switch them to the CR before they find out it might just be a ruse for patent extension.

I guess Sanofi Aventis will have to come up with something new now, like superawesome newandimproved Ambien CR plus calcium.  Oooo, calcium.  Can’t get that just anywhere.  Speaking of which, let’s move on to October . . .



Fosamax Plus D [$252 million]  — Oooo, Vitamin D.  Can’t get that just anywhere.  Forget about generic Fosamax which is much cheaper and has been available for months now.  I gots to get some of this Plus D something something right here.  Put it on my insurance, everyone’s rates go up, and who cares about the working poor who can’t get affordable prescription coverage in part because of rebrands like this? Bite me, Merck.  I hope you get Seasonal Affective Disorder and the only way you can get the Vitamin D you need is by purchasing your own overpriced Fosamax Plus D.  Choke on that $252 million.

Aciphex [$1.2 billion] — Yay, another expensive acid reflux drug goes generic.

Prandin [$131 million]



Aceon [$28 million]

Prevacid [$3.1 billion] — Yay, another expensive acid reflux drug goes generic.

Cellcept [$651 million] — Really glad this is going generic.  This stuff is over $600 per month for most patients, and a lot of insurances will make them pay 25% or 50% of the cost per month for it.  Do you have an extra $150 or $300 laying around each month?  I don’t.  I guess the patients could just stop taking it and have their transplanted liver, kidney, or heart reject on them.  I’m sure the ensuing hospitalization would be so much cheaper for the insurance company and society as a whole . . .



Avelox [$494 million]

Acular [$37 million] — I hate this drug.  Not for anything in particular that the drug company did, but because it’s an expensive eyedrop.  It’s a little bottle of liquid that costs like $70 at least [I can’t remember if it’s $70 or $90].  It doesn’t seem to matter what’s in the little bottle.  Anytime a patient comes in for an eyedrop prescription, and the little bottle isn’t damn near free, they either refuse to buy the prescription after they’ve already told you to fill it (great, now we have an opened box we can’t send back for a refund), or they buy the prescription but treat you like crap for being such a crook that you’d sell them a little bottle of liquid for $70.  People see a little eyedrop bottle, they want us to charge no more than four bucks, no matter what it cost us.

Valtrex [$1.7 billion] — I realize this drug is used for more than just Herpes, but I have to make this joke anyway:  with all the money you’ll save on controlling your outbreaks, you’ll be able to rent even more kayaks!