Over the last year, two highly utilized branded medications in workers’ compensation are now available generically. In 2013, Lidoderm® patches are now available under the generic name Lidocaine and more recently, Cymbalta® under the generic name Duloxetine have brought some relief to the workers’ compensation industry by the way of lower costs and a lower Part-D allocated amount.
Later this year, Celebrex® will join both Cymbalta® and Lidoderm® to be made available by its 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 market 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 will not be realized until at least three to six months after initial release. This is due to recoupment of research costs and other expenses, which were needed to bring the generic to market. Furthermore, although Celecoxib is schedule for a December 2014 release, brand Celebrex must still be allocated in an MSA until such time where 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 to possibly take its place and find itself on your claims payment history. Zorvolex® is a branded version of Diclofenac which has similar indications as that with Celebrex. This is something to keep a close eye on as we move through 2014 and toward the release of Celecoxib.
1. E-Facts and Comparisons Online. Clinical Drug information, 2014.
2. FDA Approves First Generic Versions of Celecoxib. US FDA May 30, 2014 Press Release. www.fda.gov