First Generic Advair Hits Market, More To Come?

Many of us asthmatics have been waiting for a generic Advair inhaler for a long, long, long, long, long, long,  long, long time.

Drum roll, please!

Advair inhaler approved

Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries won FDA approval in February of 2017 for their version of London's GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Advair inhaler. It's called Air Duo.

Rather than utilizing a product like GSK's Diskus as a delivery device, it utilizes the Respiclick inhaler, the same inhaler used for ProAir, Teva's generic version of albuterol.

While the product was approved in February, there were quite a few hurdles that needed to be jumped before the product was ready to be introduced to the market. Apparently, those hurdles have been met, and the product is now on the market.

Teva's AirDuo Respiclick has the same two medicines as GSK's Advair, which include the inhaled corticosteroid fluticasone and the long acting beta adrenergic salmeterol. Also approved by the FDA at the same time was ArmonAir Respiclick, Teva's version of GSK's fluticasone (Flovent). Both AirDuo and ArmonAir are approved for asthmatics ages 12 and older.

However, the Air Duo dose of the salmeterol is a lower dose than what is available in Advair, so it is not exactly compatible with Advair.

Still, it is cheaper. And so, this is good for asthmatics because it offers another less expensive option for those who cannot afford the brand products in this drug class (Advair, Symbicort, Dulera, and Breo).

How to get it

So, as long as you have your doctor's approval, and so long as he/she writes the prescription, you might be able to try this medicine.

This truly is good news in that this product offers a 69-81% discount compared to the price of Advair (which I will discuss in a moment).

Recently, Mylan Pharmaceuticals generic version of Advair was rejected by the FDA. They probably just need to make a few changes before making another attempt at gaining approval. Sandoz, a division of Novartis that makes generic products, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals, of Jordan, also have generic versions of Advair that are closing in on FDA approval.

All of these generic Advairs would be fully compatible with Advai. So, we'll just have to wait a little longer to take advantage of these new generic Advair products.

I personally will be very happy when one of these is on the market, as Advair is my favorite asthma controller medicine. What I don't like is the price. If the price goes down, say, 50%, that's $50 more I can spend on something fun (like baseball cards) as opposed to asthma medicine. So, hopefully this happens sooner rather than later.

So, Teva's DuoAir should be able to take advantage of a nice market here, and eat away at some of GSK's profits. However, don't worry so much about GSK, as they are doing just fine. They are still making quite a bit of profits off Advair. Plus, in 2013, they gained FDA approval of a product once hailed as Super Advair, now called Breo. Compared to Advair, which is one puff twice daily, Breo is one puff once daily. So, some asthmatics like this (despite the high cost).

GSK's Advair was approved by the FDA way back in 2003 for use in asthma. The product quickly became a best selling asthma inhaler, and by 2014 was making $8 billion a year for GSK. Sales of the product have been declining in recent years, mainly due to competition from similar medicines like Symbicort and Dulera.

The biggest problem is cost

The biggest problem with Advair is the cost. In 2010, I called around to various pharmacies and found the average price for Advair was $246.28. Even with insurance, I was paying a $60 copay for a one month supply (which equaled one Diskus). Today, that copay has increased to $100 a month, so I would imagine the cost of the inhaler has jumped as well.

So, even if Advair sales and profits decline due to generics, GSK should be just fine. And I think we should care, because these pharmaceuticals are the ones who will take the gamble on creating future asthma medicines. 

So, this is all good news, folks, for the 340 million asthmatics around the world who would benefit from more less expensive generic inhalers. We have one generic option. It's less than idea, but it's there to discuss with your doctor if you want. We will keep you posted when these other Advairs hit the market. Stay tuned!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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