Friday, June 13, 2008
How does a company fend off other companies from copying their drug when it goes off patent? Usually it pays them off so they won’t sell the generic version. The case against Abbott and its drug TriCor is a little different, however, and is being watched by the legal system very closely. The government is trying to get them on a antitrust lawsuit because of their dealing with an Israeli company. The case involves the act of “product switching” which involves retiring an existing drug and replacing it with a modified version that is marketed as “new and improved”. This prevents pharmacists from substituting a generic for the branded drug. Pretty smart people these pharmaceutical companies. Abbott not only did this but sued the other company therefore triggering a 30 month waiting period. That gives it a nice cushion to make some more cash on the medication as well as on the patients’ backs. When the 30 months were up, Abbott had switched the dosage again just enough to make it impossible for the pharmacist to offer a generic version as the new drug was no longer bioequivalent to the generic one. This is all smoke and mirrors. Teva, the Israeli company, switched its dosage again to match the new TriCor dosage and guess what? They were sued again which triggered another 30 month waiting period. Abbott eventually lost its filibustering lawsuits but got lots of sales during the interim. Without naming names, I can think of many other drugs which have been altered or changed over the past years “for the patients’ benefit,” as the drug rep stated. Yeah, right.
Posted by Authentic Medicine Blog at 7:56 AM