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Generic Rotarix

At this time, Rotarix is not available as a generic. Rotarix is considered to be a "biologic" medication and is under certain laws that prevent any generic versions from being manufactured. If these laws change in the future, generic versions of the drug could become available.

Is a Generic Version of Rotarix Available?

Rotarix® (rotavirus vaccine) is an oral vaccine given during infancy. It provides protection from rotavirus, a common cause of severe diarrhea, dehydration, and hospitalization in children.
In March 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that this vaccine should not be used, at least temporarily, since DNA from porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) has been found in the vaccine. This means that DNA from a virus found in pigs has been found in the vaccine. However, in May 2010, the FDA announced that it is safe to begin using Rotarix again, since PCV1 poses no known health risks to humans.
Rotarix is made by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. There are no generic versions of Rotarix. There is currently one other rotavirus vaccine on the market (RotaTeq®), but this is a different brand-name drug, not a generic version of Rotarix.
Technically, Rotarix is considered to be a "biologic" medication and is, therefore, under different rules and laws than most other medications. At this point, generic biologics (including generic Rotarix) are not allowed to be made. However, the laws are changing, and it is likely that generic biologics will be permitted in the near future.

Biologics and Generics

When the patents for regular drugs expire, generic companies can apply to make generic versions. These companies need to submit a little information proving that their product is the same as the brand-name drug, but they do not have to repeat all of the human studies to show the drug to be safe and effective.

Human studies are very expensive and time-consuming, and generic medications are less expensive because they do not need all the human studies.
However, biologics (medications made using live cells or organisms, also known as "biopharmaceuticals") are regulated under a different set of laws. Under these laws, there is no way for a generic biologic to be approved, unless the generic manufacturer completes all of the human studies necessary to approve a brand-new drug.
Because such studies are extremely expensive, it is likely that a generic biologic would not be any less expensive than the brand-name product. Essentially, if a generic biologic were to be approved, it would not really be a generic, but a new and separate drug (that would not be equivalent to the brand-name product).
However, recent legislation has aimed at changing these laws. It is predicted that new laws and regulations will allow generic biologics in the near future.
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