A patent currently prohibits any generic olmesartan from being manufactured. Companies that claim to sell it are selling a drug that is fake, substandard, and potentially dangerous. The patent for olmesartan expires in 2016, at which time a generic olmesartan could become available. However, other patents for specific olmesartan uses or lawsuits could extend the exclusivity period beyond this time.
Generic Olmesartan: An Overview
Olmesartan medoxomil (Benicar®) is a prescription medication that has been licensed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Olmesartan is part of a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs for short. As the name implies, olmesartan blocks angiotensin II receptors. This decreases the effectiveness of a chemical known as angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow (constrict). By blocking the effects of angiotensin II, olmesartan causes blood vessels to relax, which can lower blood pressure.
Olmesartan is manufactured by Sankyo Pharma, Inc. under the brand name Benicar. It is currently protected by a patent that prevents any generic olmesartan from being manufactured.
Yet, if you search the Internet for "generic olmesartan" or "generic Benicar," you may find a number of companies selling it. The fact is that these medicines are fake, substandard, and potentially dangerous. You should not buy any generic olmesartan until an approved generic form is available.
When Will a Generic Olmesartan Be Available?
The first patent for Benicar currently expires in October 2016. This is the earliest date that a generic olmesartan could become available. However, other circumstances could come up to extend the exclusivity period beyond 2016. This could include such things as other patents for specific olmesartan uses or lawsuits. Once the patent expires, several companies may begin manufacturing a generic olmesartan drug.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Benicar [package insert]. Parsippany, New Jersey: Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.;2013 July.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed November 6, 2009.
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