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Transplantation. 2012 Apr 15;93(7):657-65. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3182445e9d.

Generic immunosuppression in solid organ transplantation: a Canadian perspective.

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Multi-Organ Transplant Program, Department of Pharmacy Services, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.


The introduction of generic immunosuppressant medications may present an opportunity for cost savings in solid organ transplantation if equivalent clinical outcomes to the branded counterparts can be achieved. An interprofessional working group of the Canadian Society of Transplantation was established to develop recommendations on the use of generic immunosuppression in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTR) based on a review of the available data. Under current Health Canada licensing requirements, a demonstration of bioequivalence with the branded formulation in healthy volunteers allows for bridging of clinical data. Cyclosporine, tacrolimus, and sirolimus are designated as "critical dose drugs" and are held to stricter criteria. However, whether this provides sufficient guarantee of therapeutic equivalence in SOTR remains controversial, and failure to maintain an appropriate balance of immunosuppression may have serious consequences, including rejection, graft loss, and death. Published evidence supporting therapeutic equivalence of generic formulations in SOTR is lacking. Moreover, in the setting of multiple generic formulations the potential for uncontrolled product switching is a major concern, since generic preparations are not required to demonstrate bioequivalence with each other. Although close monitoring is recommended with any change in formulation, drug product switches are likely to occur without prescriber knowledge and may pose a significant patient safety risk. The advent of generic immunosuppression will require new practices including more frequent therapeutic drug and clinical monitoring, and increased patient education. The additional workload placed on transplant centers without additional funding will create challenges and could ultimately jeopardize patient outcomes. Until more robust clinical data are available and adequate regulatory safeguards are instituted, caution in the use of generic immunosuppressive drugs in solid organ transplantation is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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