Generic Cheaper Versions of Cymbalta Approved

Generic Cheaper Versions of Cymbalta Approved

People who spend hundreds of dollars each month for the blockbuster drug Cymbalta will soon have much cheaper alternatives available.

cymbalta3The Food and Drug Administration has given approval to six drug makers to begin marketing the first generic versions of duloxetine, which is sold under the brand name Cymbalta by Eli Lilly.

The move was widely expected, as Lilly’s patent on the drug expired Wednesday. Cymbalta has been Lilly’s best-selling drug and posted sales of $4.7 billion in 2012, making it the fifth highest selling medication in the world.

Cymbalta was originally developed as an anti-depressant, but is also widely prescribed as a treatment for fibromyalgia, diabetic nerve pain and other types of chronic pain.

The FDA approved six generic versions of the pill from Teva Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Reddy’s, Sun Pharma, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Aurobindo Pharma, and India’s Lupin.

“Health care professionals and consumers can be assured that these FDA-approved generic drugs have met our rigorous standards,” said Kathleen Uhl, MD, acting director of the Office of Generic Drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“Generic drugs offer greater access to health care for many people.”

The generic versions of duloxetine are likely to be much cheaper than Cymbalta. A 30-day supply of Cymbalta 60 mg capsules sells for nearly $300 at major pharmacies.

Dr. Reddy’s generic version of Cymbalta will be the only one on the market for the first 180 days. After that, the other drug makers can release their versions, which is likely to drive prices even lower.

Common adverse reactions reported by people taking Cymbalta/Duloxetine include nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, decreased appetite, increased sweating, and dizziness.

Cymbalta/Duloxetine also have boxed warnings about the increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior during initial treatment in children and young adults.

The loss of Cymbalta is the latest in a series of patent expirations faced by Lilly.  In 2011, the company’s all-time best selling drug, the anti-psychotic Zyprexa, lost patent protection. Zyprexa, which is approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, once had sales of more than $5 billion per year.

Earlier this year Lilly lost patent protection for Humalog, an insulin injection for diabetics, which had  sales of $2.4 billion in 2012.

Authored by: Pat Anson, Editor

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. catherine c mcGhie at 9:25 pm

    I live in Canada. When will there be generic Cymbalta
    available here? I am now taking 90mg of this medication
    and we live on a tight pension. Is there an anti-depressant
    that works like Cymbalta- one which also has anti-anxiety
    properties. I take many other meds and the cost is crippling

  2. Kelly at 6:14 pm

    I went to pick up the generic version of Cymbalta and it was $382 versus name brand Cymbalta which was $320 and that is with insurance. I do not understand how it’s more expensive!

  3. Trudy McGee at 5:29 am

    I am sure that Cymbalta can help many people. What really irks me is that now they have pushed all these drugs for almost every condition known to mankind! See article on gabapentin/neurontin, which they said that it was merely a “snake oil” remedy. I feel that these drug companies in efforts to boost sales are using antidepressants, (the biggest money makers cumulatively), in the history of medication, to further up their bottom dollar. This is so wrong in so many ways!! People are forced to take these mind altering drugs with horrific side effects, or risk losing their pain management doctors. Children are being prescribed these medications for everything from anxiety to ADD, to well, if they can think of it, it will be pushed. Pregnant women are on these meds, and afraid to go off of them because the withdrawal effect is so intense.

    As the latest studies are saying about pain medications, drugs are not always the answer!! But if that ideology were pushed for antidepressants, then Big Pharma would lose huge amounts of money now, wouldn’t they? When will doctors actually stop listening to drug reps, and listen to their patients? When will they start reading independent studies, instead of skewed research submitted by the drug companies? When will the FDA start sponsoring universities to actually DO independent studies, and not have to wait for the meta analysis years after the drug has made the companies billions of dollars? When will this circus stop, and put people’s well being above the that of the almighty dollar?

    Every patient and health care worker should be required to read the book; Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, by Ben Goldacre, a doctor in the United Kingdom. Then eyes would really open!

    I guess those are some stupid questions!!