We’re fans of generic medications at SingleCare. They’re more affordable medications, and lower prices means more people are able to afford the drugs they need to feel better. Forty medications became available as generics in 2019—which means more medication adherence and more savings for you. Here, we look at what the new generic drugs are and how they compare to their brand name counterparts.
What is the difference between generic and brand-name drugs?
“Name brand drugs are products marketed and sold by the company that developed the drug,” explains Janet Fritsch, Pharm.D., pharmacist and owner of Corner Drug Hometown Pharmacy in Baraboo, Wisconsin. She goes on to explain that the pharmaceutical company is allowed to sell the drug exclusively as long as it’s under patent. Once the patent expires, other companies are free to sell their own version of the drug with the same active ingredients. That’s when generics come in. “First generics” are the first approval of a generic version by the FDA. Authorized generics are marketed by brand name companies, but at generic prices.
You can often recognize generics by their names. While a brand-name drug is sold under a name that the pharmaceutical company gave it (which is usually easy to pronounce and marketable), generics are called by the name of their active ingredient(s). For example, aspirin/ dipyridamole are the active ingredients in Aggrenox, a drug that prevents excessive blood clotting and reduces the risk of stroke. So when Aggrenox is sold as a generic, it’s called aspirin/dipyridamole.
Aside from the name, there isn’t much difference. “Generic and brand-name drugs have the same active ingredients and work the same, providing the same clinical benefit, but the generic drug is less expensive,” says Laurie Bond, CRNP, a nurse practitioner with Evolve Direct Primary Care in Annapolis, Maryland.
According to Dr. Fritsch, generic manufacturers must “prove to the FDA that they are equivalent to the name brand drugs.”
Why do generics cost less than brand-name drugs?
If generic and name brand drugs are the same ingredient-wise, why do generics cost so much less? Once a drug’s patent expires, the companies that manufacture the generic form of the drug are able to sell it for a fraction of the price of the name brand drug.
“Generic drugs are less expensive because the manufacturer did not have to go to the original greater expense to develop and market the drug,” Bond says. “Once the patent expires, the medication can be produced at lower cost.”
Dr. Fritsch says that the lower prices on generics also have something to do with the sheer number of companies that are now producing the drug. “Once other companies can make it, the price usually goes down because there’s more competition,” she explains.
Which new generic drugs became available in 2019?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves new generics every year. Sometimes they are available in pharmacies right after approval. Other times, there is a gap between approval and when the drug is available for sale. Sometimes a drug already has a generic version, but the FDA approves an additional manufacturer to ensure adequate competition to keep the prices low. All generic medications that come to market must first be approved by the FDA.
Here is a list of drugs that came to market as generics this year, in the order they hit pharmacies, followed by descriptions of each new generic drug.
|Pentamidine isethionate for inhalation solution, 300 mg/vial
||NebuPent Powder for inhalation solution
||Prevention of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP) in high-risk patients with HIV
|Digoxin oral solution USP, 0.05 mg/mL
||Digoxin Oral Solution
||Atrial fibrillation and heart failure
|Fosaprepitant for injection, 115 mg
||Nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
|Nabumetone tablets USP, 500 mg, 750 mg, and 1,000 mg
||Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
|Posaconazole delayed-release tablets, 100 mg
||Prevents fungal infections in high-risk patients
|Kit for the preparation of technetium Tc99m mertiatide, 1 mg/vial
||Diagnosis of abnormalities, renal failure, and urinary tract obstruction
|Morphine sulfate tablets, 15 mg and 30 mg
||Morphine sulfate tablets
||Severe acute and chronic pain
|Triamterene capsules USP 50 mg, 100 mg
|Halcinonide cream USP, 0.1%
||Inflammatory skin conditions
|Dapiprazole hydrochloride ophthalmic solution, 0.5%
||Mydriasis produced by adrenergic (phenylephrine) or parasympatholytic (tropicamide) agents
|Pregabalin capsules 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 225 mg, 300 mg
||Nerve pain, fibromyalgia, seizures
|Daptomycin for injection, 350 mg/vial (50 mg/mL)
||Skin and blood infections
|Icatibant injection, 30 mg/3 mL (10 mg/mL)
||Acute attacks of hereditary angioedema
|Febuxostat tablets, 40 mg and 80 mg
||Hyperuricemia in patients with gout
|Carboprost tromethamine injection USP, 250 mcg/mL (1 mL) single-dose Vial
||Aborting pregnancy between the 13th and 20th weeks of gestation
|Dapsone gel, 7.5%
|Sildenafil for oral suspension, 10 mg/mL
||Pulmonary arterial hypertension
|Mesalamine delayed-release capsules, 400 mg
|Penicillamine capsules USP, 250 mg
||Wilson’s disease, cystinuria, and severe rheumatoid arthritis
|Fentanyl citrate injection USP, 50 mcg (base)/1 mL, 100 mcg (base)/2 mL (50 mcg/mL), 250 mcg (base)/5 mL (50 mcg/mL), 1,000 mcg (base)/20 mL (50 mcg/mL), and 2,500 mcg (base)/50 mL (50 mcg/mL) single-dose vials
||Fentanyl citrate injection, or Sublimaze
||Pain relief prior to, during, and after an operation
|Mifepristone tablets, 200 mg
||Medical termination of intrauterine pregnancy through 70 days gestation
|Ambrisentan tablets, 5 mg, 10 mg
||Pulmonary arterial hypertension
|Bosentan tablets, 62.5 mg, 125 mg
||Pulmonary arterial hypertension
|Valrubicin intravesical solution USP, 200 mg/5 mL (40 mg/mL) in single dose vials
|Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium for oral suspension USP, 125 mg/31.25 mg per 5 mL, 250 mg/62.5 mg per 5 mL
||Respiratory infections, sinusitis, skin infections, ear infections, and urinary tract infections
|Loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension, 0.5%
||Eye swelling caused by surgery or infection
|Naftifine hydrochloride gel, 1%
||Topical fungal infection
||High blood pressure, heart disease
|Pyridostigmine bromide syrup, 60mg/5mL
||To improve muscle strength in patients with myasthenia gravis
|Fulvestrant injection, 250 mg/5 mL (50 mg/mL)
|Aliskiren tablets, 150 mg, 300 mg
||High blood pressure
|Levofloxacin ophthalmic solution, 1.5%
||Iquix ophthalmic solution
|Deferiprone tablets, 500 mg
||Iron overload due to blood transfusions in thalassemia patients
|Sevelamer hydrochloride tablets, 400 mg, 800 mg
||Control of phosphorus in patients with chronic kidney disease
|Vigabatrin tablets USP, 500 mg
|Acyclovir cream, 5%
|Levomilnacipran extended-release capsules, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg, 120 mg
||Major depressive disorder
|Wixela inhub (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder, USP) 100mcg/50mcg, 250mcg/50mcg, 500mcg/50mcg
||Asthma and COPD
|Sirolimus oral solution, 1 mg/mL
||Prevents organ rejection in renal transplant patients
1. Pentamidine isethionate for inhalation solution
Brand name: NebuPent powder for inhalation solution
How it works: This medication prevents serious pneumonia (lung infections) in people who have a weakened immune system, due to a medical condition such as HIV, or people who take medications that suppress the immune system.
2. Digoxin oral solution USP
Brand name: Digoxin oral solution
How it works: Digoxin belongs to a class of drugs called cardiac glycosides. It is used to treat atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
3. Fosaprepitant for injection
Brand name: Emend
How it works: Fosaprepitant is a drug that helps to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy. It was previously available as a generic in tablet form. This new generic version is injectable.
4. Nabumetone tablets USP
Brand name: Relafen
How it works: Nabumetone tablets belong to a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). They treat pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This drug has been available as generic for years. This approval is an example of introducing a new generic manufacturer. Although the FDA approved the generics application for 500 mg, 750 mg, and 1,000 mg tablets, they are currently only available on the market in 500 mg and 750 mg tablets.
5. Posaconazole delayed-release tablets
Brand name: Noxafil
How it works: Generic posaconazole is prescribed to prevent fungal infections in people who are severely immunocompromised, such as people undergoing chemotherapy. It is available in 100 mg delayed-release tablets.
6. Kit for the preparation of technetium Tc99m mertiatide, 1 mg/vial
Brand name: Technescan MAG3
How it works: This is a radiopharmaceutical that’s used for imaging to tell if certain organs in your body are working properly.
7. Morphine sulfate tablets
Brand name: Morphine sulfate tablets
How it works: Morphine sulfate tablets are prescribed to treat severe acute and chronic pain. Because it is an opioid with potential for addition, patients must first demonstrate that they can’t control their pain with other medications.
Brand name: Dyrenium
How it works: Doctors prescribe triamterene to treat edema associated with a number of causes, including congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, nephrotic syndrome, and other conditions.
9. Halcinonide cream USP
Brand name: Halog
How it works: Doctors prescribe this topical steroid to treat inflammation and itching caused by a number of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and allergic reactions.
Brand name: Rev-Eyes
How it works: These eye drops are prescribed to treat a condition called iatrogenically induced mydriasis, which can occur when the patient takes phenylephrine or tropicamide drugs.
Brand name: Lyrica
How it works: This drug is used to treat nerve pain from various conditions, fibromyalgia symptoms, and to help prevent certain seizures.
12. Daptomycin for injection
Brand name: Cubicin
How it works: This drug treats skin and blood infections in adults. It was previously approved by Fresenius Kabi. This year, Accord Healthcare received approval.
13. Icatibant injection
Brand name: Firazyr
How it works: Icatibant injection treats acute attacks of hereditary angioedema (HAE). It can only be used in adults 18 years of age and older.
14. Febuxostat tablets
Brand name: Uloric
How it works: Doctors prescribe febuxostat to help manage the hyperuricemia (high uric acid in the blood) that might occur in patients with gout. This drug can only be prescribed to adults.
15. Carboprost tromethamine injection
Brand name: Hemabate
How it works: Carboprost tromethamine is a drug that is used to terminate a pregnancy between the 13th and 20th week. It is also indicated for the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage due to uterine atony (a life-threatening condition that can occur after childbirth) which has not responded to conventional methods of management.
16. Dapsone gel
Brand name: Aczone
How it works: Dapsone is a gel that can be applied topically to treat acne vulgaris. It can only be used by patients 12 years of age and older.
17. Sildenafil for oral suspension, 10 mg/mL
Brand name: Revatio
How it works: This form of sildenafil is an oral suspension, meaning that you take it as a liquid. It treats certain types of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in adults to improve exercise ability and keep the condition from getting worse.
18. Mesalamine delayed-release capsules
Brand name: Delzicol
How it works: Mesalamine helps to treat and manage ulcerative colitis for patients 5 and older.
19. Penicillamine capsules
Brand name: Cuprimine
How it works: This drug is used to treat several disorders, including Wilson’s disease and cystinuria. It can also be prescribed for patients with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis who have failed to respond to an adequate trial of conventional treatment.
20. Fentanyl citrate injection USP
Brand name: Fentanyl citrate injection USP, Sublimaze
How it works: This is a very strong narcotic pain relief agent used before surgery, during anesthesia, and during recovery after an operation.
21. Mifepristone tablets
Brand name: Mifeprex
How it works: This drug is used (in combination with another drug called misoprostol) for medical abortions in the first 70 days of pregancy. It blocks the production of the hormone progesterone, which is necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy, in the pregnant mother.
22. Ambrisentan tablets
Brand name: Letairis
How it works: Ambrisentan is prescribed to treat PAH (a type of high blood pressure involving the right side of the heart and the arteries that supply blood to the lungs). It can improve patients’ ability to exercise and keep PAH from getting worse.
23. Bosentan tablets
Brand name: Tracleer
How it works: This drug treats PAH and can be prescribed for adults and children who are at least 3 years old.
24. Valrubicin intravesical solution USP
Brand name: Valstar
How it works: Doctors prescribe the chemotherapy drug valrubicin intravesical (it is put into the bladder with a catheter) solution to treat a certain type of bladder cancer called carcinoma in situ. It is only prescribed if the patient cannot undergo surgery to remove all or part of the bladder. However, it is only effective in about one out of every five patients. It is usually used in combination with other chemotherapy.
Brand name: Vesicare
How it works: Doctors prescribe solifenacin to treat overactive bladder. This drug was originally made in brand-name form by Astellas Pharma, a Japanese company. This year, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals have all announced the U.S. launch of solifenacin succinate tablets, generic for Vesicare.
26. Amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium for oral suspension USP
Brand name: Augmentin
How it works: This is one of the most common antibiotics available, used to treat respiratory tract infections, sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. The generic version has been previously approved. This year, Aurobindo Pharma Limited received approval for a version of the drug.
27. Loteprednol etabonate
Brand name: Lotemax
How it works: Loteprednol etabonate is a corticosteroid eye drop. It is prescribed to treat eye swelling caused by surgery, certain infections, allergies, and other conditions.
28. Naftifine hydrochloride
Brand name: Naftin
How it works: Naftifine comes in a gel form. It is an antifungal medication applied to the skin to treat athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and other fungal skin infections.
Brand name: Diovan
How it works: Valsartan is a drug used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. It is also used in certain patients to reduce deaths after a heart attack. It was previously released as a generic in 2016. However, the FDA previously issued recalls of the generic drug from several manufacturers since last summer due to contamination with a dangerous chemical (nitrosamine impurities, NDMA). This led to a nationwide shortage. To alleviate the shortage, the FDA approved a new generic version of valsartan in March of this year.
Brand name: Mestinon syrup
How it works: This drug improves muscle strength in patients with a muscle disease called myasthenia gravis.
31. Fulvestrant injection
Brand name: Faslodex
How it works: Fulvestrant injection, when administered alone, can treat certain types of breast cancer in post-menopausal women who have not previously received endocrine therapy. Sometimes it can be used as a combination therapy with another drug for advanced or metastatic breast cancer in women whose disease continues to progress after endocrine therapy.
Brand name: Tekturna
How it works: Aliskiren is a renin inhibitor, used to treat hypertension. It works by decreasing renin in your body. Renin narrows your blood vessels and raises your blood pressure.
33. Levofloxacin ophthalmic solution
Brand name: Iquix ophthalmic solution
How it works: Levofloxacin ophthalmic solution treats corneal ulcer caused by a particular bacteria.
34. Deferiprone tablets
Brand name: Ferriprox
How it works: Deferiprone is part of a class of drugs called iron chelators. It works by attaching itself to iron in your body and then helping your body to pass out the extra iron in your urine. This medication is prescribed for people with a certain type of blood disorder called thalassemia. Sometimes, people with thalassemia have too much iron in their bodies because of frequent blood transfusions. (Blood transfusions are necessary for people with blood disorders, but they also bring extra iron into the body.) It is important to remove the extra iron because high levels of iron can cause health problems, like liver disease, heart failure, and diabetes.
35. Sevelamer hydrochloride tablets
Brand name: Renagel
How it works: Doctors prescribe sevelamer to control blood phosphorus levels in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who are on dialysis. The safety of this drug in people with CKD who are not on dialysis has not been studied.
36. Vigabatrin tablets
Brand name: Sabril
How it works: Vigabatrin is used for the treatment of refractory complex partial seizures (CPS) in patients 10 years and older who have not adequately responded to several alternative treatments.
Brand name: Zovirax cream
How it works: This generic drug is used to treat recurrent cold sores. It may only be prescribed to adults and adolescents 12 years of age and older who do not have compromised immune systems.
38. Levomilnacipran extended-release capsules
Brand name: Fetzima
How it works: Levomilnacipran belongs to a drug class called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). That means that it increases the amounts of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain in order to help increase positive feelings and decrease feelings of sadness and depression. It is used to treat Major Depressive Disorder.
Brand name: Advair Diskus
How it works: This drug, which hit the market as a generic in January of this year, is for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
40. Sirolimus oral solution
Brand name: Rapamune
How it works: This drug helps to prevent organ rejection after kidney transplant surgery.
SingleCare is happy to offer our customers many generic drugs at a discounted price. It’s just one way we help save you money on prescription medication.