For Immediate Release
April 16, 2015
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the first generic version of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection), used to treat patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Sandoz has received FDA approval to market generic glatiramer acetate in a 20 mg/1 ml daily injection.
“Health care professionals and patients can be assured that FDA-approved generic drugs have met the same rigorous standards of quality as the brand-name drug,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Before approving this generic product, given its complexity, we reviewed additional information to make sure that the generic product is as safe and effective as the brand name product.”
The FDA applies the same rigorous and reliable standards to evaluate all generic drug products. As needed, the agency requires appropriate information to demonstrate sameness for complex active ingredients, such as glatiramer acetate. For this approval, FDA scientists established a thorough scientific approach for demonstrating active ingredient sameness that takes into consideration the complexity of glatiramer acetate.
MS is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It is among the most common causes of neurological disability in young adults and occurs more frequently in women than men. For most people with MS, episodes of worsening function (relapses) are initially followed by recovery periods (remissions). Over time, recovery periods may be incomplete, leading to progressive decline in function and increased disability. MS patients often experience muscle weakness and difficulty with coordination and balance. Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40.
In the clinical trials for Copaxone, the most common adverse reactions reported by those taking Copaxone were skin problems at the injection site (redness, pain, swelling and itching), flushing (vasodilation), rash, shortness of breath and chest pain.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.