Generic Anastrozole (Arimidex) available
This is big news. There is now generic Anastrzole (Arimidex) available which means that the price will come way down. Until now, this has been a very expensive drug (approximately $2300/year) for women whose medical insurance did not cover the cost. I have known women who purchased the drug mail order from Canada, where it was cheaper, or even stopped taking it because it was unaffordable. There is an alarmingly low rate of compliance with all the AIs, with some studies suggesting that half of all women stop taking the medication earlier than recommended. Sometimes their reasons are related to side effects, but all too often they are due to cost. The generic will halve the price. For women with very limited incomes, there are pharmaceutical company programs to help pay for these and most other medications.
Here is a summary from Medscape:
Generic Versions of Anastrozole Now Available in US
June 30, 2010 — Generic versions of the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole have been approved in the United States, now that the branded product, Arimidex (AstraZeneca), has come off patent.
Arimidex had annual sales of $917 million in the United States, according to IMS data.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 11 generic versions of anastrozole on June 28 from the following companies: Accord Healthcare Inc, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd, Natco Pharma Ltd, Roxane Laboratories Inc, Sandoz Inc, Stason Pharmaceuticals Inc, Synthon Pharmaceuticals Inc, TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA, Three Rivers
Pharmaceuticals LLC, Watson Laboratories Inc, and Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
Aromatase inhibitors are used in the treatment of hormone-receptive breast cancer after surgery to reduce the risk for recurrence. They are usually prescribed for a period of 5 years.
Having generic versions of the drugs available will reduce the cost of therapy.
Aromatase inhibitors (before going off patent) cost around $2300 per year, according to a study published online June 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (by Hershman et al). The alternative therapy in these patients is tamoxifen, which is available generically and costs around $1200 per year.
Another aromatase inhibitor, letrozole, is already available in a generic version — a generic product from MylannPharmaceuticals was approved by the FDA in December 2008. The branded product is Femara (Novartis).