Goodbye, generic Plavix (for real)

So it looks like at the end of next week, we’re going to run out of generic Plavix. I’ve not followed the business drama of Big Pharma in a little while because I find it dull, so I have no commentary on the outcome of the lawsuit, which I presume has been settled in S-A and BMS’s favor. Apotex had a good run while it lasted. I mentioned in September that we were warned that this might happen.

In any event, it looks like it’s for real. As far as I know, this is the only time in recent history where a generic has been withdrawn. I think I recall similar things happening for Lanoxin (digoxin) and Synthroid (levothyroxine), but generics for those drugs were withdrawn because of problems with bioequivalence rather than as a result of litigation.

It’s going to suck explaining the reasons why clopidogrel is temporarily going the way of the Dodo. People don’t take too kindly to the idea of their copayments doubling (or more). I’m thinking I should write a little handout for people explaining what happened so we don’t have to have the same conversation 500 times. After telling something a dozen or so times, you’ve heard all the wisecracks and complaints that such a topic engenders, and it just gets redundant and tiresome.

I also think the idea of jerking patients/consumers around like this is ethically wrong, patents and the justice system be damned. But then morality is entirely dependent on one’s point of view, now isn’t it?

[tags]Medicine, pharmacy, big pharma, plavix, clopidogrel, ethics[/tags]

9 thoughts on “Goodbye, generic Plavix (for real)

  1. damn,these large pharmasuitical co’s I’ll not pay their hi prices and change my medicines to what ever it takes to exclude any thing made by them!!!

  2. Well you could certainly do that. But high prices exist for more reasons than simply to make money. Consider that it costs $6-700 million to make a drug and bring it to market, and that not every drug makes it. Drug companies are doing well, sure, but R&D is a cost that most people forget when they make silly comments like “But it’s just a little pill!”

    Generally, Plavix is a name-brand copayment, which is usually in the ballpark of $25-35 per month. $1/day to be healthy? Yes, please…

  3. One dollar a day maybe to you but what about us that must cover the costs of our own medications? If you see the pure profits these companies are making or you paid for your own medications I don’t think you would have such a ho-hum attitude.

    Randy T.

  4. I pay for my own health insurance out of pocket. That’s $410 a month and if you were to add up my total income, I’m barely over the federal poverty level. Not counting my six figures of student debt.

    Thanks for playing, though.

  5. If the truth about high prices for drugs was indeed the R&D then why do the prices never go down after the expenses have been thoroughly recouped? Drug companies continue to raise the price of drugs and wash their hands of responsibility. This generation of walnut paneled office leeches has created most of our health care problems with a little assistance from the life sucking insurance companies. Plavix is just another drug to pull our senior citizens down into the doughnut hole. When is the generic coming back out?

  6. Without a profit incentive, capitalism doesn’t work. And if you think that R&D still happens on the same scale when the profit incentive is removed, I suggest you go study the Cold War. And then think about who won the Cold War, and why.

    Without the possibility of a windfall, why should companies take the risk of working on a new drug (a VERY expensive process), bearing in mind that drug development is a VERY risky business. (See Pfizer’s $800 million drug failure torcetrapib most recently.) Even monster companies cannot afford to eat an $800 million loss. Good thing they had some blockbuster drugs to stabilize them (a little).

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