At this time, Hexalen (altretamine) capsules are available in brand-name form only. Although all of the patents for the drug have expired, no companies have chosen to make a generic Hexalen product. It is unknown why this is the case, but it may be because the demand for this chemotherapy drug is so small that it would not be profitable to make a generic version.
Can I Buy Generic Hexalen?
Hexalen® (altretamine) is a prescription medicine approved to treat cancer of the ovaries. It belongs to a group of chemotherapy medicines known as alkylating agents.
Hexalen is made by AAIPharma, Inc., for Eisai, Inc. It is not available in generic form.
When Will a Generic Version Be Available?
Hexalen was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1990, and is no longer protected from generic competition by patents. Once a medication goes off-patent, generic manufacturers are allowed to make generic versions of the medication. However, at this time, no generic manufacturer has chosen to make a generic version of Hexalen.
It is not entirely clear why a generic version of this drug is not available. It could be that the demand for the medicine is too small for a generic manufacturer to profit from manufacturing a generic version. Because it is unclear why a generic manufacturer has not chosen to make a generic form of Hexalen, it is difficult to predict when, or even if, a generic version will become available.
Is Altretamine a Generic Hexalen?
No -- altretamine is the active ingredient in Hexalen, not a generic version of it. What can be confusing is that the active ingredient of a drug is often referred to as the "generic name."
The generic name is different from a generic version of a medicine. In order for there to be a generic version, the original medicine must have gone off-patent, and another company besides the original manufacturer must make the product.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Hexalen [package insert]. Woodcliff Lake, NJ: Eisai, Inc.;May 2009.
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 September 15, 2012.
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