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Editor's Correspondence
Oct 22, 2012

Generic Competition in a Flawed System: Pill Them, Bill Them

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Public Health, Gres, Amiens, France.

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(19):1522-1523. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.4389

Psaty and Redberg1 explained to us Abbott Laboratories' trick to avoid generic drug competition. In 2000, Abbott Laboratories reformulated fenofibrate at a slightly different dose to avoid competition because the minor differences in dose prohibited generic substitution.

The license of some corporations to manipulate the system to suit their interests requires an enduring complacency of the system. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration, despite the lack of evidence for benefit, granted a new marketing authorization for the 23-mg dose of donepezil hydrochloride in the treatment of Alzheimer disease.2 This allows Pfizer to avoid generic competitors, since the patent for donepezil, first approved in 1996, expired in November 2010. Lastly, could this be a reason why so many physicians prescribe their patients with costly medicines when less expensive ones are available?

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