2014 is poised to be another great year for improving the availability of generic drugs and lowering drug costs. Over 50 name brand medications are expected to lose their patents in 2014, ending the monopoly that drug manufacturers have on these brand name products. While the big pharmaceutical companies may not consider this to be good news, it is great news for consumers who are trying to decrease the costs of their prescription medications.
Generic Drug Patent Expiration
When the patent is about to expire on a brand name product, other companies are able to apply to the FDA for the right to sell generic alternatives to the brand name product. After the brand name product has lost its patent, and the FDA has approved the sale of the generic version, generic drugs may be sold in pharmacies across the country.
Since proprietary brand name products are often much more expensive than their generic counterparts, the expiration of a patent and subsequent release of a generic version of the medication can begin to save consumers money. However, when generic medications become available it may take some time to see a significant decrease in price. For the first 6 months after a patent expiration date, only one company can sell the generic version, keeping prices high. After 6 months, any number of companies may apply for the right to sell generic medications, and as the number of companies selling generic products increases, the more competitive pricing becomes, decreasing generic drug prices for everyone.
While removing patents from the equation begins the cost-lowering process that many consumers need in this economic climate, it can take time for competition to start among companies making the generic medication, so lower prices may not be reflected at the pharmacy level right away. Also, some pharmacies are able to obtain generic products for lower prices right when they become available, while other pharmacies take time to receive their lowered pricing rates. This is because some pharmacies have contracts with manufacturers or wholesalers to obtain medications for a pre-determined price, which would result in lower prices than pharmacies without these contracts.
Rx Drugs – Getting the Best Price
Shopping around for the best price is important when a new product has been released, as prices can vary drastically from pharmacy to pharmacy, especially once more than one company is producing the same generic product. Combining the generic price with other discounts can also help to keep prices as low as possible. Using a discount card such as the Prescription Discount Card from the Discount Drug Network can help to lower medication prices to a more affordable level. The new Price Checker tool online at discountdrugnetwork.com is up to date with every FDA approved medication listed in real time, so when generic drugs become available, discounts of 10-85% are available right away.
Generic medications are released throughout the year, right after the patent on the brand name product expires. The following generic products are expected to be released this year, so keep an eye out for money saving changes to these products this year!
Generic Drugs 2014
The beginning of this year brought us several new generic medications, including a generic product for the popular blood pressure reducing agent, Micardis. The generic version, telmisartan, was shipped to pharmacies across the country in January, lowering prices and decreasing the economic pressure on consumers taking this expensive product.
In March we are looking forward to seeing a generic version of the antibiotic Avelox, which will be sold as moxifloxacin. This antibiotic should be available in generic form before the end of the month, increasing the affordability of this expensive but necessary treatment for infections.
This month will also bring out the generic version of Evista, a popular medication used to prevent breast cancer and osteoporosis in women after menopause. The generic version, raloxifene, is expected to hit the market by the end of March, decreasing the price of this important medication.
May is expected to be one of the biggest months for generic drug launches this year. Nexium, the blockbuster medication developed by AstraZeneca to treat acid reflux, will loose its patent in May, allowing generic manufacturers into the market to manufacture and sell this highly popular medication. The generic form of this medication, esomeprazole, should be available in May, allowing heartburn sufferers to save a little money on this legendary medication.
Lunesta is also expected to loose its patent in May. The manufacturer should have the generic version of this sleep medication, eszopiclone, on the shelves by the end of the month, lowering prices and allowing users to rest a little easier.
In June, the bone density treatment Actonel is anticipated to loose its patent, allowing generic manufacturers into the market to sell their version of risedronate for lower prices than ever before.
The cancer treatment Xeloda is also set to go generic in June. This breakthrough anti-cancer medication that can be taken orally in pill form bypasses the need for expensive injectable medications administered at hospitals and clinics, and availability of the generic form, capecitabine, will help to lower drug costs as well.
In September, Renagel, a medication used by patients undergoing dialysis to treat high phosphate levels, will be released in generic form. This is great news for dialysis patients, as this expensive but necessary medication will be available under the generic name, sevelamer, bringing down costs for patients who cannot live without this medication.
December will bring the generic form of the children’s ADHD treatment Intuniv, a long-acting guanfacine tablet. Parents will be happy to see the cost of this expensive product decrease when the generic form is released at the end of the year, calming down prices and children across the country.
While the medications listed here are the most popular medications that are going to be released in generic form this year, there are approximately 50 drugs that are projected to lose their patents in 2014, so be on the lookout for generic availability of less common products as well.
Combining the savings of newly released generic medications with the discounts available from the Discount Drug Network is sure to save consumers money. Using the Prescription Discount Card is simple and easy. Consumers can sign up to receive discounts on the Discount Drug Network’s website, discountdrugnetwork.com. After signing up, the pharmacy billing information is given to the consumer, which they can print out and take to any local pharmacy. The discount card information can then be given to pharmacy personnel along with a prescription for processing in order to receive the discount.
The anticipated dates for the release of generic medications are subject to change. Manufacturers of brand name drug products often attempt to continue their monopoly on the medication they make and protect their profits by obtaining additional patents on their medication or initiating lawsuits against generic manufacturers in an attempt to extend the length of their exclusive sale.
One example of a generic release date that has been significantly delayed can be seen in the case of OxyContin. The original patent obtained by the makers of OxyContin was expected to expire last year, but the expiring patent was for an older form of the drug that has since been removed from the market. The older formulation was associated with a high potential for abuse since tablets could be crushed so users could remove the extended-release properties, allowing all of the medication in the tablet to be used at once. This version of OxyContin was removed from the market in 2010 and replaced with a crush-resistant product that prevents users from crushing tablets into powder form, as the crushed tablets turn into a gel to prevent users from injecting or snorting the powder. When the product was reformulated, a new patent was issued by the FDA, protecting OxyContin from generic competition until approximately 2025.
Rx Drug Savings with Prescription Discount Cards
Even if a generic medication is not released this year for the drug a patient needs, discounts can still be applied to the brand name product by using the Prescription Discount Card. Depending on the pharmacy the consumer uses, discounts of 10-85% can be applied to brand name products as well.
By using the simple online Drug Pricing tool, consumers can figure out what their costs will be when using the Prescription Discount Card for a specific product at the pharmacy of their choice before they go to the store. This allows users to compare the discounted price to their insurance copays in order to figure out the lowest price available to them, without even leaving the comfort of their own home. Consumers can also compare prices between pharmacies in their area, as prices can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.
The Prescription Discount Card is free for everyone, and can be used in place of insurance if the insurance copay is too high, or if the consumer does not carry prescription insurance. Consumers can sign up for the card at discountdrugnetwork.com and order a wallet card to carry this discount with them to use when it is needed most.