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      Paying Physicians to Prescribe Generic Drugs and Follow-On Biologics in the United States

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          Abstract

          Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues examine potential strategies to promote greater prescribing of generic drugs and follow-on biologics

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          Most cited references 18

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          Timing of new black box warnings and withdrawals for prescription medications.

           Karen Lasser (2002)
          Recently approved drugs may be more likely to have unrecognized adverse drug reactions (ADRs) than established drugs, but no recent studies have examined how frequently postmarketing surveillance identifies important ADRs. To determine the frequency and timing of discovery of new ADRs described in black box warnings or necessitating withdrawal of the drug from the market. Examination of the Physicians' Desk Reference for all new chemical entities approved by the US Food and Drug Administration between 1975 and 1999, and all drugs withdrawn from the market between 1975 and 2000 (with or without a prior black box warning). Frequency of and time to a new black box warning or drug withdrawal. A total of 548 new chemical entities were approved in 1975-1999; 56 (10.2%) acquired a new black box warning or were withdrawn. Forty-five drugs (8.2%) acquired 1 or more black box warnings and 16 (2.9%) were withdrawn from the market. In Kaplan-Meier analyses, the estimated probability of acquiring a new black box warning or being withdrawn from the market over 25 years was 20%. Eighty-one major changes to drug labeling in the Physicians' Desk Reference occurred including the addition of 1 or more black box warnings per drug, or drug withdrawal. In Kaplan-Meier analyses, half of these changes occurred within 7 years of drug introduction; half of the withdrawals occurred within 2 years. Serious ADRs commonly emerge after Food and Drug Administration approval. The safety of new agents cannot be known with certainty until a drug has been on the market for many years.
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            The implications of choice: prescribing generic or preferred pharmaceuticals improves medication adherence for chronic conditions.

            A large proportion of Americans are enrolled in 3-tier pharmacy benefit plans. We studied whether patients enrolled in such plans who receive generic or preferred brand-name agents when initiating chronic therapy were more adherent to treatment than those who received nonpreferred brand-name medications. We analyzed pharmacy claims filled between October 1, 2001, and October 1, 2003, from a large health plan for 6 classes of chronic medications: 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, oral contraceptives, orally inhaled corticosteroids, angiotensin receptor blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. We measured adherence as the proportion of days covered (PDC) in each drug class during the first year of therapy. We evaluated how the formulary status of the initial prescription (generic, preferred, or nonpreferred) influenced PDC and adequate adherence, defined as PDC greater than 80%, over the subsequent year. A total of 7532 new prescriptions were filled in 1 of the classes evaluated: 1747 (23.2%) for nonpreferred medications, 4376 (58.1%) for preferred drugs, and 1409 (18.7%) for generic drugs. After controlling for patient sociodemographic characteristics and drug class, PDC was 12.6% greater for patients initiated on generic medications vs nonpreferred medications (58.8% vs 52.2%; P<.001). The PDC was 8.8% greater for patients initiated on preferred vs nonpreferred medications (56.8% vs 52.2%; P<.001). Patients initiated on generic and preferred medications had 62% and 30% greater odds, respectively, of achieving adequate adherence compared with those who received nonpreferred medications. In 3-tier pharmacy benefit plans, prescribing generic or preferred medications within a therapeutic class is associated with improvements in adherence to therapy.
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              Comparing generic and innovator drugs: a review of 12 years of bioequivalence data from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

              In the US, manufacturers seeking approval to market a generic drug product must submit data demonstrating that the generic formulation provides the same rate and extent of absorption as (ie, is bioequivalent to) the innovator drug product. Thus, most orally administered generic drug products in the US are approved based on results of one or more clinical bioequivalence studies. To evaluate how well the bioequivalence measures of generic drugs approved in the US over a 12-year period compare with those of their corresponding innovator counterparts. This retrospective analysis compared the generic and innovator bioequivalence measures from 2070 single-dose clinical bioequivalence studies of orally administered generic drug products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1996 to 2007 (12 y). Bioequivalence measures evaluated were drug peak plasma concentration (C(max)) and area under the plasma drug concentration versus time curve (AUC), representing drug rate and extent of absorption, respectively. The generic/innovator C(max) and AUC geometric mean ratios (GMRs) were determined from each of the bioequivalence studies, which used from 12 to 170 subjects. The GMRs from the 2070 studies were averaged. In addition, the distribution of differences between generic means and innovator means was determined for both C(max) and AUC. The mean +/- SD of the GMRs from the 2070 studies was 1.00 +/- 0.06 for C(max) and 1.00 +/- 0.04 for AUC. The average difference in C(max) and AUC between generic and innovator products was 4.35% and 3.56%, respectively. In addition, in nearly 98% of the bioequivalence studies conducted during this period, the generic product AUC differed from that of the innovator product by less than 10%. The criteria used to evaluate generic drug bioequivalence studies support the FDA's objective of approving generic drug formulations that are therapeutically equivalent to their innovator counterparts.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                PLoS Med
                PLoS Med
                plos
                plosmed
                PLoS Medicine
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1549-1277
                1549-1676
                17 March 2015
                March 2015
                : 12
                : 3
                Affiliations
                Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
                Author notes

                The authors have read the journal’s policy and have the following conflicts: ASK is a member of the Editorial Board of PLOS Medicine.

                Wrote the paper: AS NKC JA ASK. Agree with manuscript results and conclusions: AS NKC JA ASK. All authors have read, and confirm that they meet, ICMJE criteria for authorship.

                Article
                PMEDICINE-D-14-03439
                10.1371/journal.pmed.1001802
                4363899
                25781468

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 2, Pages: 10
                Product
                Funding
                ASK’s work is supported by an Ignition Award from the Harvard Program in Therapeutic Science. ASK is a Greenwall Faculty Scholar in Bioethics. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Policy Forum

                Medicine

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