Even though the first patent for the drug has expired, Alimta (pemetrexed) is not yet available in generic form. Pemetrexed is the generic name for Alimta; however, this is not the same as a generic version of the drug.
Alimta is made by Eli Lilly. It is currently under the protection of a patent that prevents any generic Alimta from being manufactured in the United States.
When Will a Generic Version Be Available?
The first patent for Alimta expired in September 2011, yet no generic versions of the drug are available. This strongly suggests that other, later-expiring patents are still protecting the drug from generic competition. The next patent is set to expire in January 2017. At this point, this is the earliest predictable date that a generic version of Alimta could become available.
However, circumstances could extend or shorten this exclusivity period. This could include such things as other patents for specific Alimta uses or lawsuits.
Is Pemetrexed a Generic Alimta?
No -- pemetrexed is the active ingredient in Alimta, but is not a generic version of it. What can be confusing is that oftentimes, the active ingredient of any drug is 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):
Alimta [package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2012 October.
Alimta Information for Patients and Caregivers [patient package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly and Company;2009 July.
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 August 3, 2012.
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