Generic olanzapine: Health authority opportunity or nightmare?

A. Aleksander Araszkiewicz, Katarzyna Szabert*, Brian Godman, Magdalena Wladysiuk, Corrado Barbui, Alan Haycox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Pressures to contain pharmaceutical expenditure have led to increased prescribing and dispensing of generic drugs in addition to low prices for generics. Atypical antipsychotics are prescribed for schizophrenia leading to resource pressures with their higher acquisition costs than typical antipsychotics. Drug costs can be reduced once multiple sources are available. However, this must be balanced against possible efficacy, safety and compliance concerns given the high cost of relapses for patients with schizophrenia. Generic clozapine has been launched. There was an increase in relapse rates with early formulations in the USA. However, this has not been the case with more recent formulations. Despite this, there could be patient and physician concerns when additional generic atypicals, such as olanzapine are available, reducing potential savings. A retrospective survey of patients prescribed Zyprexa®, generic olanzapine or both, over an extensive period was undertaken in Poland to help address these concerns given the difficulties with conducting randomized clinical trials with generics in complex situations. The survey showed similar effective doses of olanzapine in all groups. Relapse rates were similar in patients before and after switching to generic olanzapine, and no untoward side effects were seen in any patient prescribed generic olanzapine. Consequently, generic olanzapine should be welcomed with savings redirected to improving compliance or funding new premium priced drugs that can reduce relapses in refractory patients. This should give reassurance to health authorities to continue their reforms where pertinent to optimize resources by increasing availability of generics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-555
Number of pages7
JournalExpert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Atypicals
  • Drug costs
  • Generic drugs
  • Olanzapine
  • Relapses
  • Schizophrenia


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