The Formulary Files

Generic Prilosec ... Ready or not, here it comes

A consortium of manufacturers has received FDA approval to launch a generic version of the huge-selling proton-pump inhibitor Prilosec (omeprazole). The launch is expected by the end of the year.

Although odds are that this could be the most significant commercial introduction of a generic product in history, cost savings are expected to be relatively modest, at least initially. Prilosec costs nearly $4 per tablet; the generic entrant is expected to fetch $3.50 per tablet during its first 180 days on the market. Underscoring the importance of this impending launch, the FDA took the unusual step of issuing a news release to announce its approval.

Of course, self-insured employers and managed care organizations welcome the generic introduction in the hope that it will reduce their costs. General Motors alone spent $55 million last year on Prilosec. Complicating factors further, AstraZeneca has been working to convert Prilosec patients to its next-generation Nexium, as well as working behind the scenes with Procter & Gamble to launch an over-the-counter version of Prilosec.

How will MCO drug formularies react? Watch this space. For now, take a look at the graphs to see changes in the formulary position of each of the major anti-ulcerant brands. It will be interesting to see how these positions evolve over the next 6 to 12 months. Based on past experience, all of the brands are likely to lose some degree of formulary access.








Managed Care
By Peter Wehrwein
Managed Care
By Frank Diamond
Managed Care
By Peter Wehrwein