Suboxone Maker Accused at FDA of Blocking Cheap Generics

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
– ATIN- A generic drug maker last week accused the developer of the hugely successful and profitable addiction treatment drug rehab opioid replacement therapy Suboxone of attempting to protect its patent franchise by blocking generic buprenorphine manufacture and distribution. Reckitt Benckiser – which last year sold $1.2B of Suboxone worldwide, officially making the drug a “blockbuster” seller by crossing the billion dollar mark – was accused in a letter to the FDA by generic manufacturer Amneal Pharmaceuticals, which like many generics has been trying to break into the market. Despite the fact that Suboxone lost its patent at least two years ago, very little generic supply has ever become available. And now Reckitt Benckiser has attempted to switch sales of the drug to its new film strip version, which of course has ten more years patent because of the alteration to strip from pill. Reckitt claims that the film strip prevents accidental child ingestion, despite the fact it does not come in a child proof bottle and looks exactly like the strip candy breath mints that have come to be vogue recently. Suboxone sales have been soaring while methadone sales have leveled off in recent years. For those who are not wealthy or well insured, Suboxone maintenance therapy is HUGELY expensive, both for the drug itself and the $150-$300 monthly doctors visits required to get the prescription for the drug. Treatment Magazine estimates the VERY minimum it costs annually to be on Suboxone maintenance is between $5K and $8K. With a generic buprenorphine product widely available, we estimate annual cost would drop to below $3K.

read our key article featuring Suboxone discoverer Dr Ed Johnson who explains how buprenorphine works