Because Ilaris (canakinumab) is a type of "biologic" medicine and falls under different laws than most other prescription medications, certain regulations prevent a generic version from being manufactured. Although these laws are changing and a generic version of the drug may be available at some point in the future, it is difficult to predict when generic Ilaris might be made.
Can I Buy Generic Ilaris?
Ilaris® (canakinumab) is a prescription medication used to treat a group of rare genetic conditions known as cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). These syndromes are autoinflammatory conditions. It is also approved for systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA).
Ilaris is manufactured by Novartis Pharma Stein AG for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. At this time, there are no generic versions available.
Ilaris belongs to a class of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies. Like other monoclonal antibodies, it is considered a "biologic" medication. Biologic medications, which are under different rules and laws than most other prescription medications, have been mostly protected from generic competition until recently.
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. Ilaris is a biologic because it is a synthetic (manufactured) antibody. It is made from mouse proteins.
Because biologics 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.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Ilaris [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2013 May.
Food and Drug Administration Web site. Vaccines, Blood and Biologics, Resources for Healthcare Providers. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/ResourcesforYou/HealthcareProviders/default.htm. Accessed September 30, 2011.
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