Plavix, the blood thinner, has gone generic. On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration gave approval to have lower cost options for people who take the medication to lower their risk for heart attack and stroke. Plavix, the second-best selling medication in the world just had its patent expire. The FDA said it gave seven pharmaceutical companies the go ahead to sell different generic forms of Plavix, also known as clopidogrel. Plavix is prescribed to millions who take it daily to prevent strokes and heart attacks by not allowing platelets in their blood to clump together. Plavix is marketed by Sanofi SA and Bristol Myers Squibb jointly. Both of the companies are offering coupons with big discounts off the brand name price. The current monthly price for a prescription is approximately $200.
Patients who opt to join an online program for Plavix will receive a 30-day prescription for only $37 through the end of 2012; they have private insurance or pay for the medication in cash. Those who have federal or state health insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare, or live in Massachusetts are not allowed to participate.
Sanofi and Bristol-Myers have split the close to $9 billion annual revenue the medication has generated over a number of years. However, in 2011 that started to decline after the patent expired for the drug in several markets in Europe and other areas.
Revenue will fall even quicker with the FDA approving the generic versions for the U.S., which counts for nearly half of all the prescriptions for the medication globally.