Generic Revlamid, or generic lenalidomide is coming, but it may not help as much as cancer patients would hope.
Revlimid is the brand name for the drug lenalidomide. Revlimid is a key drug for the the treatment of multiple myeloma. Until recently, Revlimid was produced by Celgene. However, Bristol Myers Squibb spent over $70 billion purchasing Celgene, in no small part for the billions of dollars it earns selling Revlimid for over $10,000 per month to each cancer patient that requires it.
Thankfully, Americans with insurance don’t have to pay those prices, but it does mean that insurance companies are paying enormous expenses which then cause it to raise rates.
Revlimid Patents Keep Prices Sky High
Revlimid prices are so high that members of Congress singled out the company for its outrageous charges. Of course, pharmaceutical executives are happy to sit stone faced in front of Congress member who will actually do nothing, and don’t have the votes to pass any sort of law that would do anything, if it means they can earn $3 billion per quarter selling Revlimid at those prices.
The only hope for cancer patients is the entry of generic drugs. That was mostly quashed last year when the patent office refused to invalidate three patents that keep generics out of the market.
Generic Lenalidomide Will Be Very Limited in 2022
Thanks to that PTO decision, Celgene, and now Bristol-Myers, which bought Celgene last year, were able to drive favorable settlements with generic manufacturers. No generic lenalidomide/generic Revlimid will be sold in the U.S. in 2021.
So far, there are three generic makers who will begin production of generic Revlimid next year in 2022. Each one is limited to production of single-digit percentages of the overall production of Revlimid. That means that generic lenalidomide will be limited to probably 20% of so of the overall market.
That means that either generics will be hard to find, or that they will sell out quickly, running out early in the year.
The silver-lining, is that all three company’s production limits increase each year until 2026, when the caps are removed and generics can actually fill the market and, at long last lower prices for Revlimid.