April 05, 2011
As you may have heard, beginning in 2011 and continuing through 2012, many of the patents on commonly prescribed brand-name drugs will expire. When a brand-name drug's patent expires, generic versions of the drug can be approved for sale.
A generic drug works like the brand-name drug in dosage, strength, performance, use, effectiveness, the way it's taken, and the way it should be used. A generic must also meet the same quality and safety standards as a brand-name drug.
According to the American Medical Association, medical doctors say generic drug products are acceptable for use. Most hospitals routinely use generic drugs.
Generic drugs undergo rigorous FDA review, and brand-name firms manufacture about 50 percent of the generic drugs available in the market.
Competition keeps the price down.
In the first six months of an exclusive generic launch, only one manufacturer can make a generic. Manufacturers of generic drugs do not have the expense of research, development, or advertising.
When a drug first goes generic, the maker's suggested retail price might be 70 percent of the branded version.
After six months, when other manufacturers enter the market, the price will drop dramatically.
As competition among generic manufacturers heats up, the price generally falls to 20 to 50 percent of the brand-name equivalent.
New generic drugs in 2011.
This past January Xalatan (glaucoma) was offered in a generic version. Looking ahead in 2011, in June Levaquin (antibiotic), in October Zyprexa (antipsychotic), and in November Lipitor (cholesterol) and Avelox (antibiotic) will be offered in generic form.
For more information, contact your Humana Representative today.