Generic, Brand-Name Versions of Antiretroviral Nevirapine Contain Equal Amounts of Active Drug, Study Says
Generic forms of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine sold throughout Africa and the developing world contain "roughly" the same amount of the active ingredient as the brand-name version of the drug, according to a study published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Reuters Health reports (McCook, Reuters Health, 5/27). In order to analyze the validity of recent anecdotal reports that generic antretrovirals contain little or no active ingredients, researchers compared the amount of nevirapine in six different generic antiretroviral drugs from South Africa, Zambia, Lithuania and Kenya to the brand-name tablets, called Viramune, from drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim. The researchers found that all of the tablets contained approximately 200 mg of nevirapine, the labeled dosage for all of the drugs in the study (Penzak et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 5/28). While the drugs contained the same amount of the active ingredient, researchers cautioned that other ingredients can influence how well the drug is absorbed into the body. They stated that further testing is underway to determine how much of the nevirapine is absorbed by individuals' bodies. "One of the things we're trying to do is to ensure there aren't any false products out there," study author Dr. Edward Acosta of the University of Alabama, said, adding, "I have no reason to suspect that there would be large differences in the generics versus the original products. ... But again, that's why we're looking into it" (Reuters Health, 5/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.