Pharmacy switched generic meds, causing recurrence of symptoms...

by Thomas
(Winter Springs, FL)

I have been taking generic Lamictal for some time. Recently the pharmacy switched manufacturers. About five days after beginning taking the new manufacturer's equivalent, the symptoms of bipolar disease which had subsided for a considerable time returned. They have been getting worse.

At times I'm unable to function or even take a shower. I'm aware of bioequivalence problems from other medicines that I take. In some cases I cannot take the generic equivalent at all. The generic drugs I am able to take have worked without incident. Now the pharmacy has changed the manufacturer of the generic and I'm suffering.

Is there any recourse to prohibit or force the pharmacy to continue to use the same manufacturer, or must I take a brand name at a much much higher price? Is there any legal recourse I can take to ensure I get the medication that works for me? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Pharmacy switched generic meds, causing recurrence of symptoms...":

Thomas (Winter Springs, FL):

Unfortunately, you cannot force the pharmacy to revert to the previous drug manufacturer, or prohibit them from using the generic drug.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "A generic drug is the same as a brand-name drug in dosage, safety, strength, quality, the way it works, the way it is taken and the way it should be used." The FDA requires generic drugs have the same high quality, strength, purity and stability as brand-name drugs.

According to WebMD, the FDA requires the active ingredient in a generic drug be the exact same chemical as in the brand-name. However, all pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed a certain error-rate for how close they get to the exact dosage they're claiming. That is referred to as "coverage percentage of an interval".

The FDA requires when a manufacturer makes pills for a certain dose, 90% of the pills must have plus-or-minus 15% of the dose claimed on the label.

Certainly speak with your prescribing physician. See if she can prescribe another drug which will sufficiently treat your symptoms. From the information you've given, there appears to be no cause for legal action.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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