There are currently no generic Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) products available. This is because this particular chemotherapy drug is classified as a "biologic" medication, and is therefore regulated by different laws and rules than most other medications. These laws prevent any generic versions of these medications from being manufactured in the United States. It is not clear when a generic version of Adcetris will be available.
Can I Buy Generic Adcetris?
Adcetris™ (brentuximab vedotin) is a prescription medication approved to treat certain types of lymphoma, cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system known as lymphocytes. It is given as a slow injection into a vein (an intravenous, or IV, infusion).
Adcetris is made by Seattle Genetics, Inc. It is a "biologic" medication and is therefore under different rules and regulations than most other prescription medications. In the past, biologic products were largely protected from generic competition. However, regulations are changing to allow manufacturers to make generic versions of biologics.
What Are Biologics?
Biologics are medications made from living cells or organisms. These living cells or organisms are used to produce complex proteins or molecules, which are then used to make medical products, such as medicines, vaccines, or blood products. Adcetris is a biologic because it is an antibody (a protein normally made by the immune system) made from Chinese hamster ovary cells combined with a chemically made drug.
Because biologics are made with living cells, instead of chemically created like most other prescription medicines, it is not possible for a generic manufacturer to make an identical version of a brand-name biologic product already on the market. Therefore, generic biologics are sometimes called "biosimilars" or "follow-on biologics." Biosimilars are products that are similar enough to a brand-name biologic to have the same effects in the body.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. FDA approved drug products. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/. Accessed March 14, 2012.
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