Brand name drug development is important in all fields of medicine. Without patent protection, pharmaceutical companies cannot spend the hundreds of millions of dollars required to develop new medications. After a period of time however, the patent on these medications expire and the medication is allowed to be manufactured in a generic equivalent formulation. As a result, the cost drops on the brand as generic manufacturers are able to produce these equivalents. Fortunately, the majority of commonly prescribed glaucoma brand medications now have generic equivalent. It is important to realize that generic equivalents are chemical copies but the clinical equivalence is not guaranteed. However, it appears presently, that the generic medications are equal in efficacy to the branded medications.
An example of some of the generics that are available currently for Glaucoma medications are: Timolol (beta blocker) the generic equivalent of Timoptic, initially developed by Merck. It is usually in an aqueous form or gel forming solution (GFS). Trusopt (topical carbonic anhydrase inhibitor), also developed by Merck, is now dorzolamide. Alphagan (alpha agonist) from Allergan is now brimonidine. Xalatan (prostaglandin) from Pfizer is now latanaprost. Cosopt (timolol with dorzolamide) is now called timolol-dorzolamide.
Whether your pharmacy dispenses the branded or generic medication is usually dependent on your insurance plan’s directions. However, it is still possible to get branded medications if for some reason the generic substitution is less than adequate.
Thank you Dr. Ivan Jacobs M.D-Glaucoma Specialist: The Eye Care & Surgery Center.