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Generic Prevnar

There are currently no generic versions of Prevnar available on the market. As a "biologic" medication, this vaccine is under different laws than most other medications and is not allowed to be manufactured in generic form. However, recent legislation has been aiming to change these laws; if these laws change, generic vaccines could be available in the future.

Is a Generic Version of Prevnar Available?

Prevnar® (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) is a vaccine given routinely to infants and toddlers. It provides protection against seven different types of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that can cause meningitis, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and ear infections.
(Prevnar is no longer available, as it has been replaced by a "new-and-improved" version. Please see Prevnar 13 for more information about the newer vaccine.)
Prevnar is made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Technically, Prevnar is considered to be a "biologic" medication and is, therefore, under different rules and laws than most other medications. At this point, generic biologics (including generic Prevnar) are not allowed to be made. However, the laws are changing, and it is likely that generic biologics will be permitted in the near future.

Biologics and Generics

Biologics are products that are made using live cells or organisms. The cells or organisms are used to produce certain complex proteins or molecules that are used as medications; these medications are known as "biologics" or "biopharmaceuticals."
When the patents for regular drugs expire, generic companies can apply to make generic versions.

These companies need to submit a little information proving that their product is the same as the brand-name medicine, but they do not have to repeat all of the human studies to show the drug to be safe and effective. Human studies are very expensive and time-consuming, and generic medications are less expensive because they do not need all the human studies.
Currently, biologics are governed by a different set of laws. Under these laws, there is no way for a generic biologic to be approved, unless the generic manufacturer completes all of the human studies necessary to approve a brand-new drug.
Because such studies are extremely expensive, it is likely that a generic biologic would not be any less expensive than the brand-name product. Essentially, if a generic biologic were to be approved, it would not really be a generic, but a new and separate drug (that would not be equivalent to the brand-name product).
However, recent legislation has been aiming to change these laws. It is predicted that new laws and regulations will allow generic biologics in the near future.
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Prevnar Vaccine Information

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