Generic Celebrex available late 2014 (Update)

As an update to this blog, on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 the US FDA finally gave the ok for three manufacturers to begin shipments of generic Celebrex® (Celecoxib). These manufactures include Teva, Mylan, and Actavis. Although Teva will be the first manufacturer to market, look for 50mg, 100mg, 200mg, and 400mg to hit pharmacy shelves immediately. Pricing for the generic Celecoxib was unavailable at time of this update.

Over the last year, two highly utilized branded medications in workers’ compensation have become available generically. In 2013, Lidoderm® patches became available under the generic name Lidocaine and more recently, Cymbalta® under the generic name Duloxetine became available. This has brought some relief to the workers’ compensation industry by way of lower costs and a lower Part-D allocated amount.

Later this year, Celebrex® will join both Cymbalta® and Lidoderm® in becoming available by a generic equivalent, Celecoxib. Although release of the generic was fought in the US courts for some time, the makers of Celebrex® (Pfizer) reached settlement agreements with both Teva and Actavis allowing for the marketing and distribution of Celecoxib by December 2014.

Celebrex® is FDA indicated for the following conditions: acute pain in adults, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, primary dysmenorrhea, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The generic version, Celecoxib, will carry the same FDA indications as the brand name, along with the same Black Box Warning in regards to the cardiovascular risk with usage. Celebrex® is available in strengths of 50mg, 100mg, 200mg, and 400mg capsules. With current costs close to $350 per month, the generic version of Celebrex will be welcomed relief for all.

Typically, true cost savings with generic medications are not realized until at least three to six months after initial release. This is due to recoupment of research costs and other expenses, which are needed to bring the generic to market. Furthermore, although Celecoxib is scheduled for a December, 2014 release, brand name Celebrex must still be allocated in an MSA until Celecoxib is officially released. Please refer to the CMS Prescription Drug Set-Aside Guidance for Submitters, June 1, 2009 tip sheet point #7 which states “Where a submitter prices for a generic drug where there is none, CMS will compare the WCMSA proposal to average wholesale price for brand name drugs.”

Although generic Celebrex is on the horizon, there are other brand name drugs that may possibly take its place and find themselves on your claims payment history. Zorvolex® is a branded version of Diclofenac which has similar indications as Celebrex. This is something to keep a close eye on as we move through 2014 and toward the release of Celecoxib.

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