Antidepressants, like other medications, cereals, tee-shirts, and frozen vegetables, come in trademark and generic varieties. What is the cost of one month’s worth of generic medication? How about one month’s worth of trademark medication?
The generic name for Prozac is fluoxetine:
According to drugstore.com, 40mg of fluoxetine costs $40.99 per month. 40mg of Prozac costs $398.49 per month. Prozac went off patent in August 2001.
The generic name for Paxil is paroxetine:
Paxil went off patent in 2003.
The generic name for Zoloft is sertraline:
Zoloft went off patent in 2005.
The generic name for Celexa is citalopram:
Celexa went off patent in 2003.
Here is a comparison of the costs of trademarked antidepressants:
Lexapro (a cousin of Celexa) and Cymbalta are currently under patent. No generic forms are available at this time.
Why does Prozac remain expensive? Why is Lexapro relatively inexpensive?
If doctors knew the costs of these medications, would they change their prescribing preferences?
If patients knew the costs of these medications, would they ask their doctors more questions?
(All price data above are from drugstore.com. Patent expiration dates come from a variety of business magazines. I created the graphs using Google Docs.)