View Full Version : Generic vs Brand Name Drugs

09-29-2010, 01:29 PM
The question of generic vs brand-name drugs comes up a lot with all the drugs we take. I thought this info from a JHU newsletter would help:

"Health insurers love generic drugs because they cost less money than branded versions -- on average, 30% less. But there are some instances when your doctor may not think it's a good idea to switch to a generic. This is often the case for medications that have a narrow therapeutic range (NTR).

When you take an NTR drug, the most effective dosage with the fewest side effects lies in a narrow range between too little and too much. These are medications for which small changes in the dosage or amount of medication in the blood could result in clinically important changes in the drug's safety or effectiveness. Usually, these drugs require frequent adjustments in dosage, and blood tests measuring either the concentration or the effect of the medication are monitored carefully, regardless of whether the drug is a brand-name or generic product. Common NTR medications include warfarin, digoxin, and certain drugs used to control seizures."

Note that the same drugs used for seizures are often used to treat bipolar syndrome.

I've been on Coumadin (warfarin) for awhile now. When I first went on it we couldn't get my INR to stay in range no matter what we did. Finally the hematologist switched me to brand name and ba-da-bing it went in range and stays there easily. His nurse practitioner ran a Coumadin clinic with 1,000 patients and said those taking the brand name had an easier time staying in range.

09-29-2010, 04:44 PM
That is very interesting Sangye. Thanks for the info.

09-30-2010, 01:54 AM
It really is interesting...Just last week CVS/Caremark sent me a letter indicating that my use of Cellcept will no longer be covered under the managed prescription plan price in 2011 and that I must switch to the generic Mycophenolate.

go figure!

Would it be great if WG was just a generic disease as well.

09-30-2010, 06:20 AM
Same thing happened to my last year. I was kinda of nervous at first taking a generic one.

09-30-2010, 07:16 AM
We only have one supplier of Cellcept in the UK. I know this because there is a supply problem that makes it difficult to obtain and there are no alternatives.

10-01-2010, 03:12 AM
It's Roche isn't it Jack? Luckily I never had any problems getting Cellcept, in fact I've got a carrier bag full of Cellcept (still in date) left over because I flared and haven't been put back on it. I was getting prescriptions for a 3 month supply at the time.
I take generic Azathioprine, Omeprazole and Prednisolone - the only brand name med I have is for my blood pressure.

10-01-2010, 03:23 AM
I actually take a slightly different form of it called Myfortic.
The UK supply is restricted by the producers because it was being ordered in England and then sold abroad where prices are higher. If there was going to be a profit made, the producers wanted it! In the meantime, the UK supply barely covers demand and there is often a delay in obtaining it. I always make sure I have at least a month's supply in hand.