Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin.
Vicodin pills are about to get a lot more expensive.
You see, according to this Abbott Vicodin Announcement (.pdf file), Abbott Labs is very concerned about the Tylenol content in its combination pain medications. After all, too much acetaminophen per dose in prescription medications may cause “severe liver injury from acetaminophen overdosing.”
In bowing to pressure from the FDA, Abbott decided to stop making the combination pills containing hydrocodone with 325 mg Tylenol or more and decided to start producing all of its combination pills with 300 mg Tylenol, instead.
Phew. I’m glad they took care of that. I’m sure that the extra 25 mg of acetaminophen in the current formulation was just causing an untenable overload of all the liver transplant centers throughout the country.
The other thing that creating a new formulation and discontinuing the current formulation does is create a new patent on the medication. Which will undoubtedly mean that, much like how the cost of colchicine went from 10 cents per pill to $5 per pill, the cost of brand name Vicodin will soon skyrocket as the medication goes “non-generic”.
Since states don’t like spending a lot of money on medical care, it is also likely that the “safer” brand name Vicodin will no longer be covered under state insurance plans. I’m sure there will still be generic versions of hydrocodone/acetaminophen available along with Oxycontin and Tylenol with codeine — until the remaining manufacturers also create their own “safer” versions of the medications.
For now, any time that a physician writes a prescription for the brand “Vicodin”, patients are going to not only have pain in their body, but they will also have pain in their wallets. I’m predicting $2.50/pill price point.
Look for lots more hassles to both pharmacists and to the doctors writing the prescriptions.