Budesonide: Competing generics on the horizon

Sunday, January 22, 2012

BALTIMORE - The needle barely moved on the average sales price (ASP) figures for nebulizer medications, according to the latest figures, released in December. The only neb-med to show any significant change was budesonide (J7626), which rose 23.8 cents to $4.63 per dose.

While an increase is always welcome, there's still not a lot of margin on the drug, says provider Sam Jarzcynski, who stocked up in advance of an October price increase.

"We were able to buy enough to get us through," said Jarczynski, president of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based RxStat. "But a lot of pharmacies stopped dispensing it because they were losing money after the price went up. It's a toss up whether that drug is going to be available to patients before the new generics come out and make the price go down."

Whether several competing generics hit the market sometime in 2012, as is anticipated, depends on whether the generics get through the legal process, said Wayne Vega, senior executive vice president of the Inhalation Drug Group. Teva, which manufactures generic budesonide, and AstraZeneca, the maker of Pulmicort, the brand name version of the drug, could try any number of legal maneuvers, like patent restraints, to delay the launch of competing generics. 

"They have a lot of might and could very well squash a lot of attempts by companies to come out with competing generics," he said. "It really comes down to generic disputes--that's what's impeding us potentially seeing a multiple source budesonide in 2012, although there are companies boasting that they will have it." 

Other figures were as follows: Albuterol (J7613) remained unchanged at just over 15 cents per dose; as did ipratropium (J7644) at 13 cents per dose. Perforomist (J7606) increased just over a penny to $4.84 per dose. Down slightly were DuoNeb (J7620), which decreased just over 3 cents to 28 cents per dose; and Brovana (J7605), which also decreased just over 3 cents to $5.35 cents per dose.