Because PegIntron is a type of "biologic" drug, it is under different laws than most other prescription medications. The laws prevent biologic medications, including PegIntron, from being made into generic versions. Until the laws for biologics are changed in the future, generic PegIntron products will not be available. In addition, unexpired patents are expected to protect the drug from generic competition for quite some time.
Can I Buy Generic PegIntron?PegIntron® (peginterferon alfa-2b) is a prescription drug that belongs to a group of medications known as interferons. It is approved for treating hepatitis C and is usually used in combination with ribavirin (Rebetol®), an oral medication that helps improve the effectiveness of PegIntron.
PegIntron is manufactured by Schering Corporation, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. It is considered a "biologic" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is under different rules and regulations than most other prescription medications. Because it is a biologic therapy, generic versions of PegIntron cannot be made by other manufacturers.
What Is a Biologic?Biologics are medications made using living cells or organisms. The living cells or organisms are used to make complex mixtures of proteins or molecules, which are then used to make medications or vaccines.
Biologic products include many different types of medicines, such as vaccines, blood products, and gene therapies. Because they are so complex, it can be difficult for a generic manufacturer to make an identical version of the product. For this reason, generic biologics are sometimes called "biosimilars" or "follow-on biologics." Biosimilars or follow-on biologics have similar properties to the existing biologic product, but are not considered identical to the existing biologic product.