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Bye Bye Generic Vicodin
— Wow. Rent-seeking FTW.
June 15, 2012
Gotta love our patent laws -
From what I understand, doctors are still allowed to prescribe the older version; the catch seems to be that doctors would write "vicodin" on the prescription and not check the "brand name required" checkbox. Before the new patent was granted, the pharmacy would automatically substitute for a generic version; now, the same prescription must be filled with the new brand-name version. -
I predict that this will settle down; insurance companies won't cover the new brand-name version, and pharmacies will call the doctor for clarification for any prescription such written -- pharmacies don't like dealing with insurance companies any more than patients do. -
The thing is, they're taking the old version off the market because of an FDA decision.
I'm confused; the FDA decision says "limit to 325mg of acetaminophen" (or less). The article you linked says that there are generic versions available with 325mg, which would still be legal under the new FDA decision. Yet Abbott decides to go down to 300mg and get a patent on the new formulation. It is not obvious that they'll be allowed by the FDA to market the new version as "safer", given that the FDA decision deems that all versions with <= 325mg acetaminophen are all safe. Other than the name switcharoo, I don't see what else is going on here. -
The most commonly used formulation of hydrocodone/acetaminophen is 5 mg/500 mg, which won't exist anymore. I really think it's only a matter of time until all the other manufacturers catch up to Abbott and release "safer" patented versions, taking the generic forms off the market, even the ones that are already <= 325 mg of acetaminophen. This happened to albuterol, when CFCs were banned, so now there isn't a generic inhaler any more. -
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