There are no generic Velcade (bortezomib) products available at this time, as the drug is protected by patents and exclusivity rights that have not yet expired. After the first patent expires in May 2017, companies may decide to make a generic version of this chemotherapy medicine. However, lawsuits, new patents, or various other circumstances may delay the drug's availability.
Can I Buy Generic Velcade?
Velcade® (bortezomib) is a prescription medicine used in the treatment of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer of the bone marrow. It is also used to treat people with mantle cell lymphoma, a type of cancer of the white blood cells, who have already received at least one other treatment. It is given as an injection, either into a vein or under the skin.
Velcade is made by Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. It is currently protected from generic competition by patents and exclusivity rights that prevent any generic Velcade from being manufactured in the United States.
When Will a Generic Version Be Available?
The first patent for Velcade is set to expire in May 2017. This is the earliest predictable date that a generic version could become available.
However, other circumstances could come up to delay or shorten the exclusivity period. This could include such things as lawsuits or patents for new Velcade uses. Once the patent expires, there may be several companies that manufacture a generic Velcade drug.
Is Bortezomib a Generic Velcade?
No -- bortezomib is the active ingredient in Velcade, but is not a generic version of it. What can be confusing is that the active ingredient of a drug is often referred to as the "generic name."
The generic name is different from a generic version of a medicine. In order for there to be a generic version, the original medicine must have gone off-patent and another company besides the original manufacturer must make the product.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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 20, 2012.
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