What is the future of generics in transplantation?
Transplantation , Volume 99 - Issue 11 p. 2269- 2273
Generic immunosuppressive drugs are available in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Between countries, there are large differences in the market penetration of generic drugs in general, and for immunosuppressive drugs in particular. The registration criteria for generic immunosuppressive drugs are often criticized. However, it is unlikely that the criteria for registration of narrow therapeutic index drugs are going to change, and bioequivalence studies, performed in healthy volunteers, will remain the backbone of the registration process. It would be good if the registration authorities would demand that all generic variants of an innovator drug have the same pill appearance to reduce errors and promote drug adherence. To allow for safe substitution, a number of criteria need to be fulfilled. Generic substitution should not be taken out of the hands of the treating physicians. Generic substitution can only be done safely if initiated by the prescriber, and in well-informed and prepared patients. Payers should refrain from forcing pharmacists to dispense generic drugs in patients on maintenance treatment with innovator drug. Instead, together with transplant societies, they should design guidelines on how to implement generic immunosuppressive drugs into clinical practice. Substitutions must be followed by control visits to check if the patient is taking the medication correctly and if drug exposure remains stable. Inadvertent, uncontrolled substitutions from 1 generic to another, initiated outside the scope of the prescriber, must be avoided as they are unsafe. Repetitive subsequent generic substitutions result in minimal additional cost savings and have an inherent risk of medication errors.