FDA approves first generic version of Sabril tablets

17 Jan 2019

Approval of generic vigabatrin tablets granted to Teva Pharmaceuticals USA.

The FDA has approved the first generic version of Sabril (vigabatrin) 500 mg tablets for treating complex partial seizures, also called focal seizures, as an adjunctive therapy (given with another primary treatment) in patients 10 years and older who have responded inadequately to several alternative (refractory) treatments.

FDA approves first generic version of Sabril tablets

"Prioritizing the approval of generic drugs to compete with medicines that face little or no competition is a key part of our efforts to support access and reduce drug costs to patients. The availability of high-quality generic alternatives of critically important medicines, once the period of patent protection or exclusivity has ended on the brand drug, helps advance access and saves consumers billions of dollars each year,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

He added: “We know there has been past interest in developing a generic alternative to this product. Earlier this year, we also highlighted this drug, along with many others, on a list of off-patent, off-exclusivity branded drugs without approved generics, to clarify that there were no patents or exclusivities that should impede its approval. Today’s (16 January 2019) action demonstrates that there is an open pathway to approving products like this one. We’re especially focused on new policies aimed at making the generic review process more predictable, efficient and lower cost so we can entice more generic firms to enter this space, and help facilitate more generic drug launches after generic approvals. We know it’s not enough just to approve a record number of generic medicines. We also want to see firms launch these products so that patients can benefit from their availability, and we intend to take steps to advance these goals."

Last year, the FDA began to publish a list of inquiries from generic drug developers seeking the FDA’s assistance in obtaining samples from brand companies, which included Sabril, noting these brand companies were potentially blocking access to the samples of their brand products when the brand products are subject to limited distribution programs, including REMS.

The FDA has continued to emphasize that even in the case of limited distribution programs, there should be a path forward for generic drug development. Additionally, the FDA’s list of off-patent, off-exclusivity branded drugs without approved generics is an effort the FDA began in 2017 and will continue to refine and update periodically to ensure continued transparency around drug categories where increased competition has the potential to provide significant benefit to patients.

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