University of Utah

Price spikes, tight supplies limit cost saving of generic drugs

A decade ago, physicians who treat epilepsy got what seemed like a piece of good news: Eight companies had received federal approval to sell a generic version of an injectable lifesaving drug.

Doctors liked the brand-name drug Cerebyx because it was safer and easier to use than a previous medicine that stopped seizures but could cause terrible skin reactions. The only problem was that it was too expensive for many hospital pharmacy budgets. A widely available and cheaper generic version would remove those cost barriers - or so doctors thought.

But the introduction of Cerebyx's generic form, fosphenytoin sodium, in 2007 - called "fospheny" for short by some doctors...

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