Generics for chronic myeloid leukemia treatment – a hot topic at ASH 2016 as imatinib patent expires

Jan Geissler, Co-founder of the CML Advocates Network, discusses data on the safety and efficacy of generic imatinib compounds for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treatment, which was presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Congress 2016 in San Diego, CA. In time for the expiration of the Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) patent in late 2016 and early 2017 in several countries, studies from Europe, Africa and Asia evaluated the safety and clinical efficacy of generic imatinib variants, and found no significant differences to the original compound. Jan Geissler describes how around 60-70% of CML patients are taking imatinib, meaning that the cost to health-care systems will be much reduced by drugs costing 5-10% of the original imatinib compound. However, he warns that if patients are constantly switched between different generic products, this could result in reduced adherence as patients may be concerned about quality.
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