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Generics could cut costs of cancer drugs by over 99%

Generics manufacturing and import of novel cancer drugs could massively reduce their costs in the UK, according to a study by Hill et al.[1].

Evolution of scientific research on generic drugs

A review of peer-reviewed scientific articles carried out in January 2013 on generic drugs published on PubMed/MEDLINE from the date of the first published article on generics (1954) to 2012 was undertaken by Lucas-Dominguez et al. (2016) to establish the current status of research in this area. According to the authors, this is the first study to evaluate evolution of research on generic drugs. 

Potency of generics of piperacillin/tazobactam

In an era of increasing bacterial resistance, the potency of antibiotics is critical. Researchers from the Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, India tested the relative potency of different generic brands of the piperacillin/tazobactam antibiotic [1].

Delaying generics using citizen petitions

A study of citizen petitions submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the last 12 years finds that such petitions are being used by drug companies ‘in a last-ditch effort to hold off competition’ [1].

Promoting and regulating generics in Brazil

Generic drug substitution constitutes a core instrument of countries’ strategies to reduce the price of drugs and expand access to health care. To that end, scholars and international organizations have encouraged adoption of a range of policy instruments that countries can use to promote the use of generics, focusing on measures to increase both the demand for and supply of such products.

Rising costs of cancer treatments not matched by clinical efficacy

The high prices of new cancer treatments are a major barrier to access in low-income countries and placing growing pressure on developed countries. In their study, author Hill et al. estimated the lowest possible treatment costs for four new cancer drugs, showing that manufacturing of generics alternatives could significantly reduce treatment costs [1].

Generics and brand-name drugs compared

What differentiates generics from brand-name medications? That is a question that Andrea Bakker from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ottawa tried to answer [1]. In her commentary she explored how differences in licensing affect drug efficacy and how the pharmaceutical landscape in Canada affects patient care.

Switching stable kidney transplant patients to generic tacrolimus safe

Researchers from Chile have found that switching stable kidney transplant patients to generic tacrolimus is safe. However, they caution the transplant community to carefully monitor any switch to generics [1].

Patent and regulatory exclusivities driving generic and follow-on market availability

Daniel Nam reviews the differences between intellectual property exclusivity (patents) and regulatory exclusivities (market exclusivity) in the US [1]. A patent is a grant of property right to an inventor for 20 years from the date of application. Market exclusivity is awarded to manufacturers of first-to-market brand products and excludes other manufacturers from marketing the drug product for a certain period of time, depending on the type of product. Nam explains that these tools are used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to achieve a balance between innovation and equitable access to medications.

Addressing patient misconceptions about generics

In the face of increasing drug costs, substitution by generics is often used as a strategy by healthcare systems to rein in expenditure. However, patient misconceptions about generics can hinder such substitutions. Researchers Sanchez and Zurek discuss how pharmacists can improve this situation by educating patients on the use and safety of generics [1].