NEWSBRIEF: The U.S. FDA has given Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. final approval to produce pregabalin, a generic form of the drug Lyrica, the anti-seizure medication that's approved for treating pain from fibromyalgia and neuropathy.
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Inc. is about to lose its patent protection on Lyrica, clearing the way for other companies to market the generic form. Generic drugs are generally less expensive - sometimes dramatically so - than their name-brand counterparts. That makes them more likely to be covered by insurance.
Lupin hasn't announced when its pregabalin will hit the market.
Another fibromyalgia drug, Cymbalta (duloxetine), will come out from under patent protect next year. In late 2010, the FDA granted Impax Laboratories permission to start producing generic duloxetine once protection ends.