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The latest updates on prescription drugs and ways to save from the GoodRx medical team

Why Are Tricor and Trilipix So Expensive?

by Dr. Sharon Orrange on May 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

They shouldn’t be, and it’s sneaky. Read on.

As you know, when a branded medication loses patent protection it will face generic competition, and generics are much cheaper. A drug company can change its brand name drug to a slightly different dosage which allows it to extend its patent. It’s legal, but you will see how crazy it is.

For those of you on Tricor, Trilipix or the generic fenofibrate you should know what has gone on. Abbott Laboratories used this strategy to avoid generic competition for its branded formulations of fenofibrate. This is a medication to lower triglycerides and it is questionable anyway whether it lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease, but they have made quite a bit of money on this drug.

Abbott reformulated fenofibrate several times in the face of generic competition as it lost patent protection:

  • Abbott first made fenofibrate available at 67 mg, 134 mg and 200 mg dosages (Tricor-1), then reformulated to 54 mg and 160 mg dosages (Tricor-2), then reformulated again to 48 mg and 145 mg dosages (Tricor-3, currently available).
  • Please look at how similar these dosages are but know that despite these very similar dosages, pharmacies cannot dispense the cheaper, generic that is nearly equivalent when physicians write a prescription for the brand name unless it’s the exact same dose.
  • Shocking thing is that Abbott made over 1 billion dollars in 2012 on Trilipix which was basically the same medication as the generic version . . . just off by a few milligrams.

How can your doctor help?

  • Instead of writing prescriptions for the branded formulation (Trilipix) your doctor can write prescriptions for the generic formulation of fenofibrate at the dosage for which it has been FDA-approved.
  • So instead of Tricor or Trilipix (which is 45 mg or 135 mg), you can get fenofibrate at 48 mg, 145 mg, or 160 mg dosages and save a ton of money.
  • Goodrx is great for showing you the generic fenofibrate and the doses that are available. Go that route on this.

Dr O.

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