Ambien’s Patent is Up; Could Sleep Drug Costs Be Going Down?

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Guess what?   The time has actually come for the patent of one of the
most widely used sleep medications in the world — Ambien — to come to an end.   According to a recent article in The Sleep Report:

This year alone, 10 brand-name medications with revenue exceeding $8.1
billion are expected to lose patent exclusivity, including the widely
prescribed sleep medication Ambien (zolpidem tartrate).

  • Ambien’s US sales exceeded $2 billion last year.
  • Medications to treat sleep disorders are one of the fastest growing
    categories of drug spending, rising 31.5% in 2005 alone according to
    Medco Health Solutions Inc, a pharmacy benefit manager.
  • While seniors use the most hypnotics, younger adults showed the greatest increase in use of these drugs.
  • According to Medco’s analysis, the number of adults aged 20 to 44 years
    using sleeping medications increased by 128% between 2000 and 2005.
  • According to pharmacy market analyst IMS Health, a one percent increase
    in generic utilization nationwide yields almost $4 billion in savings.

So what does this mean for those of you who are taking these valuable
medications?

First, you should know that the makers of Ambien have done
a great job of reducing the price of their newest medication, Ambien CR,
so that it will match or come very close to the price of generic.

Next, I hope to see insurance companies recognizing that the use of these medications can in fact LOWER our healthcare
premiums, but I doubt it.

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Michael Breus, Ph.D - The Sleep Doctor is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and one of only 168 psychologists to pass the Sleep Medical Specialty Board without going to medical school. Dr. Breus is a sought after lecturer and his knowledge is shared daily in major national media worldwide including Today, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and for fourteen years as the sleep expert on WebMD. Dr. Breus is the bestselling author of The Power of When, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan and Good Night!

2 thoughts on “Ambien’s Patent is Up; Could Sleep Drug Costs Be Going Down?

  1. You have got to be kidding, or incredibly naive. Generic Ambien (zolpidem) will be many times less expensive than Ambien CR once the 6 month exclusivity period is over.
    Ambien CR is an exremely lame excuse for a drug and it’s only reason for existence is to keep Sanofi-Aventis from losing revenue when Ambien goes generic.

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