Sunday, May 28, 2006

Generic Escitalopram

This is not really big news, but it makes me stop and think.   has been approved in generic form (5, 10, 20mg tabs, 5mg/5ml solution).  Previously, it could only be obtained as the branded product, Lexapro.  As of today, that leaves only one selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor () with patent protection: Zoloft ().  Zoloft is going off patent in June 2006.  

I'm still not entirely sure when generic sertraline will be available.  There has been a lot of convoluted legal wrangling over the subject, a discussed in this court ruling (82 KB PDF).  When it does occur, though, there will be no SSRIs under patent protection.  Effexor () and Cymbalta () will be the only popular antidepressants that are patented.  (The Emsam () patch was approved recently, but it remains to be seen how popular it will turn out to be.)

For many years, antidepressants have been a major contributor to the cost of prescription drug insurance coverage.  Clearly, that is changing.  

I suppose we can all expect our insurance to get cheaper now.