Thank you to some astute folks at the Suboxone Forum who recently provided information about a possible generic competitor to Suboxone. One contributor provided this interesting story about the profit potential from Suboxone for Reckitt-Benckiser and the considerations for the development of a generic product. Another person mentioned the news from the FDA site on October 9 that announced the approval of generic buprenorphine tablets by Roxane Pharmaceuticals. The Bloomberg article mentions a new thin film delivery vehicle for buprenorphine under development by RB, claiming that the strip will deliver the medication more rapidly than the dissolving tablet. Again, those of you who have read this blog or who are part of the forum already know the way that I recommend people take Suboxone, a way that clearly results in better absorption of buprenorphine. I don’t think speed is a factor for the vast majority of people, though, because the point of buprenorphine treatment is to maintain a steady plasma level of the medication. Each daily dose of Suboxone should not result in in increased opiate effect, as that would go against the whole point of buprenorphine use to induce remission of active opiate dependence!
Time will tell whether a generic will be introduced and if it is, what the cost will be– but in general, generics do bring down the cost of medications. When it comes to buprenorphine treatment of opiate dependence, the pricing relates to the number of people who receive treatment… so we can all hope that the price is lower than the current $5-7 per pill depending on the pharmacy and geographic area.
Thanks to the folks at Suboxone Forum for keeping me updated on the news about this exciting development!