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July 2016
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Advair Patent To Expire Next Year, But Will Low-Cost Generic Advair Be Available Anytime Soon?

I’m not sure what I expected when my doctor prescribed an Advair diskus for a persistent cough that lingered for several weeks last year, but it certainly wasn’t a pharmacy bill of $280 dollars and a month of living on lentils and rice. Fortunately, the Advair diskus took care of the cough within a week, and I haven’t had to fork over the nearly $300 for another one since then, but I can only imagine the strain on the monthly budget to pay for Advair month after month if you have asthma or any other chronic respiratory condition.

Unfortunately, even though GlaxoSmithKline’s patent on Advair is due to expire next year, it’s starting to look like a low-cost generic version of Advair may not be available any time soon, according to The Wall Street Journal:

The reason: Advair is proving awfully hard to copy. And the inability of generic rivals to replicate it so far is giving Glaxo a surprising extended lease on its biggest drug.

The asthma treatment combines two drugs in a fine powder that’s inhaled through an intricate device called a Diskus. Few generic companies have the know-how to make complicated inhaled drugs, and even the ones that do are finding it a tough task. The two largest generic-drug makers—Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Inc. and Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit—have each hired a raft of Glaxo veterans to help them with the work.

The challenge illustrates a coming change in the generics wars. For years, the most profitable drugs—mostly pills made of chemicals—have been fairly easy for generics companies to copy, requiring a straightforward chemical synthesis. But the next wave includes more-complicated inhaled drugs and others made of complex biological ingredients. Replicating them will require skills that many generics makers don’t yet have.

Glaxo Chief Executive Andrew Witty recently thumbed his nose at generics rivals attempting to copy Advair. “We have seen all sorts of people stub their toe on what everybody thought was a very easy proposition,” he said during a conference call with analysts last month. “I remain of the view that we are likely to have Advair as a very major product for GSK for a very long time.”

Advair Poses Generic Hurdle

But even though developing a generic copy of Advair may be a tough row to hoe, it doesn’t mean that some major pharmaceutical companies aren’t trying. Sandoz is still working on developing its own generic version of Advair, and analysts believe that Novartis’ acquisition of a small company founded by former GlaxoSmithKline executives is another move to develop a generic version of Advair. Generic pharmaceutical giant Teva may have given up working on a copy that is perfectly substitutable by FDA standards, but it is still working on working on a product that is similar to   and hopefully, much cheaper.

We’ll be crossing our fingers in the meantime.

Do you use Advair? Tell us about it!

Join the forum discussion on this post

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37 comments to Advair Patent To Expire Next Year, But Will Low-Cost Generic Advair Be Available Anytime Soon?

  • I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information ~;`

  • Thanks for the feedback!

  • Diana

    I have been helped immensely by taking advair. The cost makes it very difficult to stay on the drug but given the benefit of being able to fill my lungs without a struggle I do my best to fill my Rx every month to every other. I hope someone can wrap there brain around it and get a generic out soon!

  • Thanks, Diana. We hope someone comes out with a generic version of Advair soon, too! I almost fainted the first time I got the bill for an Advair prescription.

  • Thanks for posting this. Accolate (Zafirlukast), an oral asthma drug, recently went generic. It went from over $100 per month to $10. Certainly, those of us on Advair are hoping one of the generic manufacturers will deliver an alternative as soon as the patent expires. But let’s all remember that Advair is a real breakthrough in asthma treatment (and COPD). Sufferers should do what they can to stay on this product even with the cost. GlaxoSmithKline does have a program for indigent, uninsured and low income people to assist them. We can all hope for a reasonably priced generic soon. $200+ a month is a real killer.

  • I totally agree that the $200 a month for Advair really is a killer for the budget. I almost had a heart attack the first time I got the bill for my Advair prescription! Thanks for letting us know about the Accolate generic!

  • Jennifer

    This is great news, I really hope someone can come up with an alternative. It is astounding how expensive respiratory drugs are, including my Albuterol Inhaler. I could really use a break in cost. Advair costs me $150 / 3 months with insurance, and my Albuterol costs me $40 a pop. Not to mention Singular and Nasonex (coming off patent 2011 and 2012 fyi- Being an allergic asthmatic is breaking the bank!

  • I know! I had to go on Advair for a couple of months and just had me living on rice and beans for a while!

  • kathy donaldson

    I’m age 60 and am on advair 500/50 for asthma and don’t know what I’ll do when I retire. Without insurance it’s $280. Old age and retirement from teaching = priceless !

  • Thanks for the comment, Kathy. We’ll run some answers on the Advair question tomorrow for you.

  • Jane

    Thanks for the information about Advair! I really hope someone can make a generic for Advair soon! I’ve tried to get assistance from GlaxoSmithKline, but found out that I don’t qualify because I have some kind of insurance (even though it wont pay for it until I meet the $5000.00 deductible, and then 80/20). Wont be able to purchase it anymore.

  • Yes, unfortunately, GlaxoSmithKline’s patient assistance program is not that helpful for a lot of people. We’ve heard rumblings that generic Advair might be available in Europe sometime next year, but Advair is such a complicated drug that it’s no sure thing. We’ve really got our fingers crossed on it, though….

  • Ron Brown

    i have been on advair and spiriva for almost a year,and if i were not able to get samples from my doctor, i would not be able to take them on a regular basis.i would really like to know why american drug companys get away with charging more for there drugs in the usa than they charge in other countrys??

  • Thanks for your question, Ron. Honestly, pharmaceutical companies will charge whatever they can charge in each country to get the most money they can. Since they have patents on all of the big drugs, that means that prices here in the U.S. are skyhigh. I almost fainted when I got my first Advair bill!

  • Inhaler

    I get my Advair in generic form from Canada ( for $45 per disk (30 uses) including shipping. Works just the same for me. It’s criminal that US pharmaceutical companies can essentially withhold life-saving medications from people who can’t afford to pay for them. What is more basic than breathing?

  • Thanks for your comment. We agree that it’s shocking how much pharmaceutical companies are charging for life-saving drugs. But are you sure that you are getting a generic version of Advair? Advair is a notoriously hard drug to copy which is why no one’s even sure that a generic will come out when the patents expire. Better make sure that you’re a good version of whatever drug that you need!

  • JB

    I too had to resort to buying Advair from Canada. When I changed insurance policies the cost went from $30/month to $170/month. What I get from Canada still says ‘GlaskoSmithKline’, just not Advair, and costs $150 for 3 discs. I’ve been using the same product for months and can’t tell any difference from the U.S. bought version. I really feel for those folks that can’t afford this drug because nothing else works nearly as well. Hopefully an affordable generic version will find its way to the U.S sooner than later.

  • Thanks for your comment, JB. We can only hope that affordable Advair finds it way here soon!

  • For Kathy,
    Cheer up dear, Eurofarma Laboratorios Ltda,Elpen Pharmaceutical Co. Inc, Ache Laboratorios Farmaceuticos S.A., Sandoz/Novartis, vectura, Mylan-pfizer Out of these Vectura is very near to develop a generic version of Advair.

  • Thanks for letting us know the good news, Deepak! We’re looking forward to hearing more as generic versions of Advair develop.

  • joe

    The article isn’t completely true. Cipla has a clone that works (and tastes–yuk!) the same. I get it via

  • Ken

    My wife has terrible asthma and this is great news!I find it odd though, that people are having trouble coming up with a generic version when Generic Advair already exists in many countries around the world, including Canada, France, South Africa and the UK. If they can get it, why can’t we? I’ve even had friends order it from a Canadian pharmacy and it’s the exact same, according to my wife, who tried a “blister” from their diskus.

  • Thanks for your comment, Ken. Although some online pharmacies claim to have generic Advair in Canada, generic Advair is not available in Canada either. From what we understand, what they are really selling is Fluticasone, Salmeterol, and/or seroflo which are the active ingredients in Advair but they are not actually generic Advair. It may work for your wife, but please be cautious.

  • Terri

    Just ran across this article. I am in NEED of my ADVAIR…but being unemployed, cannot afford the 245.00 a month, (until the deductible is met). Has the patent expired yet???? (***fingers crossed)

  • Thanks for your question, Terri. The Advair patent hasn’t expired yet, but have you tried our blog on Advair: You should also try our forum to see if anyone has any other suggestions.

  • Joanie

    At age 3 I was diagnosed with Asthma and during the next 40+ years I must have used everything on the market. My life changed with Advair! It has almost eliminated my need for rescue inhalers. While unemployed I applied for GlaxoSmithKline’s patient assistance and received free Advair and inhalers for 3 years. But when generic finally comes out, I’ll be first in line.

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Joanie. It is so helpful for other asthmatics to know that GSK’s patient assistance program really does do some good!

  • Anne

    Curious why Canada has a generic available but we can’t figure out how to get one?????? There’s is a FRACTION of the cost of ours!
    My daughters pulmonologist even gave us the info & recommended we get it there!

  • Joni

    I have used Advair to control my asthma and I have been extremely happy with with the product, except for the price. I just got my first Rx of Seroflo rotacaps, a generic version of Advair from Canada. I eagerly tried it tonight and I can say definitively that Seroflo is NOT the same as Advair, at least not for me. Within a minute or two of inhaling the rotacap powder, my lungs started burning and it felt like they were closing up. I did not feel the relief that I did
    when I use Advair. Now, two hours after having taken my first dose, my lungs are still aching and they feel extremely irritated, almost like someone had taken sandpaper to them. Even though the listed ingredients in the two products are identical, 50 mcg Salmeterol/250 Fluticasone, there must be something different about Advair’s formulation or perhaps the Advair might be a finer powder than the Seroflo rotacap and that the coarseness of the Seroflo is irritating my already sensitive lungs. ??? Luckily the Canadian Pharmacy that I ordered the Seroflo from has a 2 week full refund return policy. These babies are going back tomorrow. The same Canadian pharmacy I used to purchase the Seroflo does have the actual Advair brand for $100 a month, three times the cost of Seroflo but much cheaper than the $220 a month I would have to pay for it here in the US, even with insurance. I ordered Seroflo because so many people online said they were happy with the generic and saw no difference between it and Advair. I am happy for them but, sadly, I didn’t find that was the case for me. I’m going to have to stick with Advair.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience, Joni. Generic Advair is a dicey proposition because of its complex make-up. We’re glad that Seroflo may work for some folks, but it definitely doesn’t work for everyone.

  • Laurel

    I’ve been using Advair for over 10 yrs for my asthma – while I believe that drug is very helpful, now that I’m on Medicare and Medicare Advantage, I fall into the donut hole every year by Aug. and this year it was July 1st because I developed lung issues early in the year. It’s tough having to pay $127 for my Advair, out of pocket each month. At least Singular went generic this fall, so my next prescription should be less costly. I can hardly wait for Advair to go generic, so I won’t have such a huge bill every month – I only take three prescriptions monthly, but once I fall into the donut hole those three cost me about $350 per month.

  • Den

    I have allergies and asthma, and I was purchasing the Advair for a season, but stopped. I simply can not afford it. My asthma is out if control, and I do worry about getting bad colds.

  • Sandi

    If you do your research on the generic versions of Advair, you will find that they are not made in Canada, and are not a generic version of Advair. They are made in India, and countries that have no restrictions on these drugs, and sold to consumers, like me, who cannot afford Advair! No, I don’t buy the generic versions…I take Advair, cause it works, but only for a month instead of the 3 months my doctor wants me to take it, because I absolutely can’t afford 260.00 a month for it, and all the other Meds I take for asthma, brought on by respiratoty infections. I agree with the retired teacher…doesn’t pay to retire and be on Social Security! Our society doesn’t care about or help the older/elderly ones! We’be tried…making 22,000 a year is too much to get help! Really??? Sad!!

  • Ashley

    I use Advair as it is the only asthma medication that works without really severe adverse side effects. If I didn’t have good health insurance, I would never be able to afford it. Before I got insurance, I was on the GSK Bridges to Access program. People/Families up to lower middle class can qualify for it and it covers Advair and Ventolin.

  • Betty

    I hope someone comes up with a generic I just turned 62 and have buying advair 250/50 for 7 years and paying 285.00 a month the insurance I have won’t cover my asthma because I have prey existing condition so it is hard to live on what I get and I make just a little to much to get any help with meds .

  • Lynda

    Without medical insurance I resort to illegal means to obtain Advair. I have tried getting samples from the doc (they don’t always have them and they only last two weeks) and going through the pharmaceutical company itself (they gave me one then said I was ineligible for their program). I really have no choice. I hate it.

  • Tom

    $280 for a month of Advair?!?!?!?!?

    The full price for a month of my 250:25 metered aerosol here in Australia is about US$75.

    Because of our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, I pay US$35.

    There is no way I could afford $300 a month for my Seretide (as it’s called here).

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