A few months ago a court case was brought to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania regarding Modafinil. The case was decided just last week, and after sifting through some legalese, The Modvigil Blog is here to report the results.
First, some background information: Cephalon’s patent for Provigil (brand-name Modafinil) was about to expire all the way back in 2002, and right around the same time several big generic manufacturers in the US tried to get permission to produce Modafinil. Except Cephalon’s patent was reissued, but on some very shaky premises. In short, they had a sketchy patent and were trying not to lose exclusivity.
Provigil provided over 40% of Cephalon’s earnings since its release. Eventually this would have to end, but Cephalon decided to basically pay off these generic manufacturers so that they would not produce the drug. Cephalon has paid about $300 million to these different firms. These so called “reverse payments” are not illegal, however they must be reasonable.
Eventually Cephalon’s patent was pulled in 2011, which sparked the rise in Modafinil that we see today with major production occurring worldwide, from Chile all the way to India. Cephalon still had deals in place with various US generic manufacturers however.
The plaintiffs, led by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), purchasers of Provigil (who don’t appreciate high prices), and a group of generic manufacturers who wanted to get in on the game but couldn’t, won their argument that Cephalon’s payments were excessive and anticompetitive. Having more generic manufacturers involved in the process lowers prices. If there are only a few, as Cephalon intended, then the price gap between brand-name and generic would be small. Small enough that many people might just continue using the brand-name product.
Cephalon has paid fines in the US before for misleading advertising and exaggerated claims. Cephalon has yet to hit another home run in the drug department, leading them to seek out any edge they can find. This is just another example of their legal tactics attempting to keep Modafinil expensive and get the most out of their one-hit wonder.
With no further patent protection, and these former deals being declared dead, more generic manufacturers will be able to produce Modafinil in the US, and also in other countries. Many nations use the FDA and other US institutions as the standard for their own rules. This benefits local consumers who often receive a prescription and go directly to the pharmacy. Unfortunately generic Modafinil in the US is still extraordinarily expensive, with 30 200mg tablets costing nearly $300. Consider though that just a few years ago this price was up to almost $800. More competition will mean better prices. Health insurance often has coverage limits on prescriptions, meaning that this will make Modafinil easier for patients to purchase without breaking their coverage limits.
Of course there are still people out there in the USA, despite recent legislation, who cannot afford generic Modafinil or who have passed their insurance’s cap on prescription medications. In these cases, a good alternative is to look online for reputable vendors who sell Modafinil often for around $2-3 per pill, massive savings compared to spending almost $10 per pill. The Modvigil Blog has often recommended Modup.net for its high quality product and attentive service. If you need your medication now, of course going to the local pharmacy is a safe and quick alternative. And it’s only going to get cheaper as a result of this latest court decision.