Save money on popular meds as they go generic in 2010

We’re nearing the end of the year, and many people are already in open enrollment for next year’s health coverage, which means it is a great time to plan ahead for your 2010 drug expenditures. No, you can’t know every medication you are going to need, but if you are on a popular, patented maintenance drug such as Lipitor or Cozaar, you’ll be pleased to hear that their patents are expiring in 2010, opening the field for more-affordable U.S. generic versions.

In the meantime, as you do your research, you will see that many are already available as generics, manufactured outside of the U.S. There is usually a considerable cost savings.

Here are all the details of some of the highest-profile drugs that have expiring patents as of the end of 2009, or during 2010 and how and where to get the generic versions.

ARICEPT (donepezil). Pfizer makes the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor Aricept for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Aricept is scheduled to lose patent protection in the U.S. in 2010, but generic versions are already available.

COZAAR (losartan). Merck’s Cozaar is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, used to treat hypertension. Cozaar’s patent protection in the U.S. will expire in 2010. In the meantime, generic losartan is available here.

LEVAQUIN (levofloxacin). Johnson & Johnson’s antibiotic drug Levaquin will outlive its patent protection in 2010. However, until that time, you can purchase generic levofloxacin here.

LIPITOR (atorvastatin). Pfizer has the best-selling drug in the world in Lipitor, which treats high cholesterol. In the US, the basic patent for Lipitor expires in March 2010, while the second patent covering the calcium salt of atorvastatin expires in June 2011. It is not yet clear exactly which date will see widespread availability of generic Lipitor in the U.S., but it is coming. In the meantime, generic atorvastatin is available here.

XENICAL (orlistat). Roche’s Xenical is an obesity treatment that prevents the digestive system from absorbing fats. Its patent expires in December of this year.  (Note: In some countries, including the U.S., orlistat is available over-the-counter as GlaxoSmithKline’s Alli.)

VALTREX (valacyclovir). GlaxoSmithKline’s Valtrex is a treatment for herpes simplex and herpes zoster (shingles). Valacyclovir was recently approved for generic production, and so generic versions will be on the U.S. market by the end of 2009. As of this writing, generic valacyclovir is available here.

If you’re interested in the business ramifications for the pharmaceutical companies, CNN ran a good article on the topic, and so did Chemistry World.

Enjoy using to knowledgeably plan your medication choices for the coming year.

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Comments (3)

Its amazing what supply and demand can do.

Free trade keeps even the big guys in check.

What a wonderful article not many people display what drugs do for certain ailments , I guess that’s because most people dont know !!
Well Written

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