3 Comments

  1. Matt2

    I really appreciate someone advocating for the many still suffering opioid addicts who could afford treatment through HDB (high dose buprenorphine) if they were allowed to take generic Subutex. I can name at least 4 individuals right off the top of my head, that were doing really well taking Suboxone and then they eventually lost their health insurance through their parents when they turned 26 or their own insurance would only pay for the medication for a certain period of time. All of these people asked if they could switch to generic Subutex because they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket for both the Dr.’s appointments and the name brand which can cost up to $8 per tab. All of them were told they couldn’t switch even though 3 of them had no prior use of needles. As of the last time I spoke to them, they had all started using again and only 1 person are now caught up in active addiction. It just doesn’t make sense considering how much more money is spent in tax dollars to pay for their frequent jail and ER visits and the public defenders that represent them when they “catch a case”. It would be alot less expensive for all of us if they were allowed to take generic. I was lucky nough to have a dr. who allowed me to take generic after my parents insurance dropped me a year ago. I have a hard time affording the treatment even though my dr. is only charging me $50 per visit once every 2 months and both my wife and I have fulltime jobs. It really saddens me to think about a corporation (R&B) trying to wring every cent they can out of addicts and programs like Medicaid. I hate to say it but they know damn well that most addicts are in financial catastrophe by the time they even consider getting treatment. That’s not to say I don’t expect them (R&B) to not make a profit but by repackaging the same medication into a film they’ve virtually created a monopoly. Apparently they didn’t notice that they’ve already enjoyed the butt loads of money they made over the period before the patent on their Suboxone/Subutex tablet patent!

  2. hsomers30

    There are two separate and distinct issues involved regarding the astronomical price of Suboxone.
    1. Why is the most efficacious drug to come along and treat opioid dependency cost $9.00 and up? Sure does make it damn hard for the average addict who uses a bundle a day or more to come up with $500 and up at one time. This drug is not advertised. There is no dedicated sales force. The drug is detailed to physicians as an afterthought. Why is this important? Considering that Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals already footed the bill for the patent and only a small percentage of the companies budget is spent on advertising; why does Suboxone cost so much and continue to rise in price?
    2. The generic is NOT CLINICALLY THE EQUIVALENT. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generic drugs are identical or within an acceptable bioequivalent range to the brand-name counterpart with respect to pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. What does that mean; bioequivalent range? The word range does not make me think of the word identical or equivalent. It gets better. Check this out. The FDA’s use of the word “identical” is very much a legal interpretation, and is not literal. Really? Identical does not really mean identical? Nope. Here’s the deal on generics: as long as said generic has from 80%-108% bioequivelent range, it falls within FDA guidelines. That is some range. How do you get an accurate blood-serum level? By the way, Subutex. is not a generic form of suboxone. It’s a different drug entirely. Subutex is Buprenorphine only. Suboxone is Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Naloxone is a drug used to counter the effects of opiate overdose. The primary reason Nalaxone is added to Buprenorphine, thus making Suboxone is to decrease potential use of cooking the drug.
    If you go to the website, the company does offer a $45.00 monthly reduction for six months. How generous.

    • I mostly agree. I have had many patients take the generic form of Subutex– i.e. buprenorphine– and they found no difference between that medication and Suboxone. I am not getting into the argument over generics for non-generics– my point is that Suboxone and Subutex are clinically identical. Naloxone is an intravenous medication that is not active orally– and not active sublingually. It is included in Suboxone theoretically to prevent intravenous use of buprenorphine. BUT– in reality, it doesn’t even do that. Naloxone binds with a very low affinity to the opioid site, and so it does little or nothing to compete with the actions of buprenorphine.
      I agree 100% that Reckitt Benckiser has been gouging patients for years. My frustration now is that they are effectively preventing generic manufacturers from entering the market, by falsely convincing insurers and state agencies that Suboxone tablets are not safe. Funny– they are saying that as they continue to make them!

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