Generic Modafinil sales begin?

post by jsalvatier · 2012-04-02T15:53:15.967Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 21 comments

Due to agreements with the patent holder, Cephalon, that were made in 2005-2006 several generics manufacturers are now allowed to sell generic Modafinil. I have found confirmation that the manufacturer Teva has begun selling generic Modafinil, though I haven't seen news about other manufacturers. However, the article also, says that Cephalon is a subsidiary of Teva, so perhaps this won't have an effect? The Modafinil patent is set to expire in April 2015.


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comment by Username · 2012-04-03T03:14:38.996Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

By the way if you're looking to get Modafinil, a redditor just opened a new site selling it (shipped from India). I can't personally vouch for it, as I just placed my order a few days ago, but /r/nootropics is having a field day.

Edit: removed the direct link to the site - I'm not an affiliate, just someone who thinks that people in this community would be interested in this information. Read that reddit discussion for more info.

Replies from: James_Miller
comment by James_Miller · 2012-04-03T19:43:48.512Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

shipped from India

Danger, counterfeit drugs:

"According to a report released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 75% of fake drugs supplied world over have some origins in India, followed by 7% from Egypt and 6% from China."

Replies from: Douglas_Knight, Username, gwern
comment by Douglas_Knight · 2012-04-04T00:36:21.263Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That report is a perfect example of why people don't trust economists. It is about intellectual property, not drugs. As far as I can tell, it defines these transactions to be "counterfeit" because they violate patents, regardless of the content.

As Username says, this is an irrelevant statistic, even if true. The relevant claim from the report is that no third world country has less than 10% counterfeiting (compared to 1% in the US), though India is not specifically identified. Another relevant claim from WHO, that most illegal internet pharmacies that conceal their physical location are fraudulent, though this is a quasi-legal pharmacy that does not conceal its address (nor does nubrain).

I think most people using modafinil on LW are already using Indian brands. I have heard anecdotes of these brands are being counterfeited and I consider these much more relevant and reliable than these reports. Choosing to use Indian brands may be an error. But given that choice, I expect people shipping from India to be less likely to use counterfeit drugs than those shipping Indian brands from inside the US, since the difficult part of illegal drug distribution is usually crossing the border.

comment by Username · 2012-04-03T20:11:31.261Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So be cautious. But don't use generalized evidence when you have specifics. I personally trust this specific site because of the testimonials of some long-standing reddit users who have ordered it. You should decide on your own if that's good enough for you.

Also note that 75% of fake drugs originate in India, not that 75% of drugs from India are fake.

Edit: It came in a while ago and I've used it a few times. Works for me.

comment by gwern · 2012-04-03T20:09:35.965Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The redditor contacted me for advice before officially announcing it and in turn sent me 50 or so Modalert; the packaging was right, and it seemed to work for me. She seems legit... for now.

Replies from: James_Miller
comment by James_Miller · 2012-04-03T20:21:47.157Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What probability of the drugs being counterfeit would you be willing to accept? Also, the profit maximizing strategy of the seller might be to initially sell 100% genuine drugs and then slowly lower this percentage.

Replies from: Username, gwern
comment by Username · 2012-04-03T22:39:45.605Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It might. Another profit maximizing strategy might be to gain a large portion of the market by making her business open, reliable, and with a quality product that grows through word-of-mouth advertising.

Based of what I've heard from and about the seller (that she responds to emails, offers refunds, sent gwern free samples, and keeps a running blog on the site), I'm going say that rather than a manipulative game theorist, she sounds like a genuine businesswoman who's found an open niche in the market.

comment by gwern · 2012-04-03T20:23:36.687Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What do you mean?

Replies from: James_Miller
comment by James_Miller · 2012-04-03T22:43:47.067Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Let p = the probability of the drugs being counterfeit. For what values of p would you be willing to buy the drug?

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2012-04-03T23:40:05.040Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Her price isn't that great, even with the Reddit discount, so I'd say something like p>0.2 would be enough to push me to buy from the Silk Road or one of the other online pharmacies instead.

Replies from: James_Miller
comment by James_Miller · 2012-04-04T01:46:17.440Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I had never heard of Silk Road. Now I understand the appeal of Bitcoins.

comment by James_Miller · 2012-04-02T19:39:33.764Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A pharmacist in Massachusetts told me that the generic has not yet been released but if it is the price for 30 pills will be $850, not much different from the non-generic version. Of course, you would also need a prescription.

Replies from: jsalvatier, jimrandomh
comment by jsalvatier · 2012-04-03T01:05:08.418Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Another pharmacist told me it's usually 6-9 months before the price of a generic drops at all.

Replies from: AlexSchell
comment by AlexSchell · 2012-04-03T11:34:50.677Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is true. The first manufacturer that gets a generic application (ANDA) through gets 6 months of monopoly on the market for the generic product, after which everybody can enter the market and the price drops dramatically.

Replies from: jsalvatier
comment by jsalvatier · 2012-04-03T14:54:40.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh! Very good to know. For others, here's more information.

comment by jimrandomh · 2012-04-04T00:55:30.325Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A pharmacist in Massachusetts told me that the generic has not yet been released but if it is the price for 30 pills will be $850, not much different from the non-generic version. Of course, you would also need a prescription.

What? There are already generics on the market which cost $2/pill, an order of magnitude less than that, and there have been for years.

Replies from: Louie
comment by Louie · 2012-04-04T06:07:00.204Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Those "generics" you're talking about are ordered by your friends from overseas. The average American won't take advantage of Modafinil until they can pay x10 as much to buy it in a pharmacy in their neighborhood.

People are too risk-averse to try things that work. Hmm... if only there were some sort of drug they could take to make them smarter?

Replies from: Aleesa
comment by Aleesa · 2013-01-17T11:49:55.181Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Define "risk averse" I used to buy modalert from India and, based on its effectiveness, I feel confident it was not a fake. The biggest risk, I found out, is having a shipment confiscated by US Customs as it is a controlled substance. I received a letter telling me on no uncertain terms that if they found another shipment of modafinil addressed to me, they would prosecute me as a drug smuggler. That was more risk than I was willing to take. Since even the so-called generic modafinil in this country is so expensive, I now take Ritalin instead of modafini. Ritalin is available in a cheap generic in this country, but has side effects that the modafinil didn't have.

Replies from: Louie, gwern
comment by Louie · 2013-01-17T20:57:29.147Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I received a letter telling me on no uncertain terms that if [US Customs] found another shipment of modafinil addressed to me, they would prosecute me as a drug smuggler.

You mean something like this? That's not really as meaningful as it seems. There is always some legal risk associated with doing anything since there are so many US laws that no one has even managed to count them, but a pretty serious search through legal database turns up no records of people being prosecuted for modafinil importation, ever. So that letter is 100% posturing by US Customs.

You should probably conclude from this that you're more likely to be prosecuted for illegally downloading music or jay walking.

And it's obviously everyones' personal choice to decide what level of legal risk they are comfortable with. But a rational person who wanted modafinil should be willing to order it from an online pharmacy at least as often as they're willing to pirate music or jaywalk without fear of prosecution. Otherwise their preferences for assuming legal risk are inconsistent.

comment by gwern · 2013-01-17T18:52:24.259Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Define "risk averse"

Refusing to take small monetary risks measured 0-10% seems reasonable to me.

As you might imagine given my page on modafinil, I get emails all the time from people interested in modafinil and often in ordering or obtaining modafinil.

I continue to be struck by how many of them, despite apparently reading carefully my page in which I cover empirical observations of the risk (financial and legal), risk estimation, cost-benefit calculations, etc., tell me that they are not ordering because they feel it's too risky.

Don't order because you respect the laws, sure; don't order because you're worried about unknown long-term health effects, sure (even if I think the existing literature, discounting, and QALYs address that); don't order because you think that sleep deficits will reduce your creative or higher-order faculties, sure. Those are legitimate reasons. But you're not ordering because you're worried about a 1-10% chance of losing $100 in exchange for a chance of gaining the equivalent of several hundred dollars? What?!

I can't decide whether they're just lying to me as a form of plausible deniability, self-selected for being the few people who would fail to internalize expected value ( seems to be selling well to Redditors), having a 'true refusal' problem where the risk is just an excuse, or what.

comment by gwern · 2014-02-28T02:20:27.139Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

To update this: it seems that sometime before mid-2013, the cheaper generics finally started percolating out. The earliest mention I've found so far is from May 2013:

How odd, I pay a little under $60.00 a month for for 450XL Watson generic (never any difference for me between Watson and brand).

A Redditor today mentioned it:

If you don't mind, I'm trying to spread the word that COSTCO now has a generic that is only about $170-270 a month depending on dosage (about $800 cheaper than elsewhere). It's made by Watson labs. As far as I can tell only COSTCO sells it right now.