Monday, April 12, 2010

Generic Worries..

I am a little peeved with someone, but don't know where to pin the blame yet.

After using all of Lucy's samples of the new enzyme Zenpep that we received from Dr. Grumpy a couple of weeks ago, I went into our pharmacy to fill the prescription. I was told multiple times by our CF clinic, pulmonologist and others in the CF community, that taking a generic medication is not as effective in treating a CFer. These generics are said to be made with different, cheaper ingredients, and have been proven to be less effective.

I was asked by the pharmacy tech, when I dropped off the script slip, if it was okay if they filled the Zenpep with a generic version of the medication. I immediately told her that it was not okay, and that we were instructed to not give Lucy any generic pancreatic enzymes. All was fine and well as I watched her make a note in the computer.

Two days went by before I went to pick up the order, as I was told that they would have to order the Zenpep and it would be a day or two. I was told that Lucy's insurance would not fill the prescription with the Zenpep, and would only fill with the generic version. The tech said that they would give me a call when the order was properly approved and filled, pending the completion of a form to be filled out by one of the parties in question: insurance, doctor, or Eurand pharmaceuticals that manufactures Zenpep.

The doctor was called, and instructed the pharmacy once more that a generic enzyme was not to be used. Eurand pharmaceutical company, that makes Zenpep, claims that they also make the generic brand of the enzyme! What a coincidence...they must own the patent on the formula.

The claim is that the two products (Zenpep and the generic) are made in the same factory, and that the same exact formula is used in both!

The insurance company won't pay for the Zenpep, and tells the doctor to fill out some FDA report about adverse side effects of using generics versus the name brand.

This is all reported to me by the small, family owned pharmacy, where we have gotten most of Lucy's scripts in the last two years.

The doctor apparently didn't oblige the insurance company by writing that repost because I walked away with the generic version of Zenpep. Mind you, they are in the same exact brown, glass bottle as Zenpep, and they are manufactured and distributed by the exact same company, and allegedly are made from the exact same ingredients.


My question and worry for all of you in the blog-o-sphere:

How is it possible that ONE company can make the exact same product, put similar labels on the bottles, and then charge drastically different prices for both?

If these things do not work for Lucy in any way, you can bet your sweet enzyme I'll be taking these generic pills back and demanding the name brand.


  1. Sometimes companies do that. There was a case a few years back about contact lenses-- all were identical but were packaged differently and the charges were hugely different (from $5 each to $90 each) That being said I can't take generic prozac-- it doesn't work for me. Hopefully this will work for Lucy.

  2. My husbands CF doctor told him the same thing about generic vs. name brand enzymes. He has been on Ultrase forEVER! Only one time did I ever run into the pharmacy giving me grief over getting the name brand filled vs. the generic. I'll be watching to see how this works out for Lucy. Please keep us updated. :)

  3. My 5 yr old son takes creon 2400 and again we were told not to get the generic brand. We have never has any trouble. This seems so morally wrong to refuse this child what she medically needs.


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