Authorized Generic Concerta Medication Update


Having trouble receiving the authorized generic Concerta medication for ADHD — again?  Well, you’re in the right place.

Quick Summary Points:

As the first person to cover — and advocate on — this issue since 2014, I can tell you:

  • It’s a rapidly changing story. What was true yesterday might not be true tomorrow.
  • I keep it organized best I can, but if I cut details—sure enough, comments will ask for them!  So, I happily risk Google docking this post for “too long.” (It favors short and superficial!)
  • This slew of cheap generics (in price and content) has sent pharmacies and insurance companies scrambling—only intensified by COVID demands..
  • Concerta pills use a patented delivery system (Alza’s OROS). It’s what makes Concerta distinct from the other methylphenidate-class choices.
  • The authorized-generic is the brand; it’s only marketed as a generic. The other Concerta generics are mostly “bare bones”.
  • If you’re confused about generic versus authorized-generic, you’ll find the details below.
  • Much depends on your particular insurance pharmacy benefit. Even within the same insurance provider (e.g. Blue Shield) different policies bring different benefits.
  • Don’t count on the average prescriber understanding this issue. But do offer a link to this blog post—or print relevant info and provide.
  • If you have a home-delivery pharmacy, that might be your best bet. See link in story below.
  • It might be that one of these generics suits you better than Concerta. That isn’t the issue.
  • The issue is that these generics do not perform as brand Concerta does. That’s a big problem for people who respond best to Concerta’s sophisticated delivery system (OROS).
  • If you participate in an ADHD-related forum or another type of group,  please share the link to this blog post.  I’m seeing  sites repeat tidbits from this original reporting. But it’s out of context and without updates—and therefore unhelpful and also violating copyright.

In This Post:

  1. Your best options now — overview
  2. Specifying the authorized-generic for Concerta on the prescription – step by step
  3. Consider home-delivery pharmacy, if you have that benefit (yes, it’s legal for stimulants!)
  4. Consider brand; there’s a Concerta coupon now
  5. Background: how this clown car of Concerta generics burst onto the scene
  6. Whatever happened to the “Actavis” generic?
  7. Now — Concerta generics from at least ten companies!
  8. Still confused about generic vs authorized generic?
  9. Consider filing an FDA Medwatch Complaint

First: Please Support This Reader Service

    • For seven+ years, I’ve taken the lead in first lobbying the FDA to downgrade the first two inferior generics and, since 2017, guiding readers on procuring the authorized generic. Others might “borrow” my work. But I put in the time and effort.
    • For 20 years, I’ve accepted no pharmaceutical funding or support of any type.  That includes from the makers/sellers of Concerta!
    • That makes me one of the very few ADHD “names” who has rejected pharma funding. Specifically, the quid pro quo kind that the major pharmaceutical funder of ADHD “advocacy” requires. It’s called a conflict of interest.
    • You might be shocked at the covert ways in which this is playing out with that one particular Pharma.
    • I minimize advertising — because it’s too distracting!
    • If my self-funded work has saved you thousands of dollars and much consternation, please consider a donation of any amount via Paypal — or Venmo. You can also shop via my Amazon link to right—and support this blog cost-free to you! Thank you!

1. Your Best Options Now — Detailed

Here’s an overview of the best current strategies. You’ll find more details about how the script should read in the next section.

—Aim for Authorized Generic (from Patriot Pharmaceuticals)

This involves getting your prescriber’s cooperation, detailed below (Specifying Authorized Generic Concerta).


  • Do not ask the store if it carries the authorized generic. Keeping a medication in stock and ordering it are two very different things.
  • If the pharmacy says it cannot fill your prescription, ask that an Exception Process be ordered for you. (This is working less reliably now than it did but it’s worth a shot.)
  • Still trouble?  Call Janssen 1-800-631-5273. Ask for its subsidiary, Patriot. 
    • The representative can sometimes intercede with a pharmacy. 
    • The list of pharmacies said to be carrying the Patriot generic might or might not be helpful. Just because a pharmacy carried it one point doesn’t mean it is now. Moreover, it doesn’t mean that your particular insurance coverage will qualify you for it.

—Patriot Pharmaceuticals: Authorized Generics ONLY

Just in case Patriot website visitors also don’t understand the term authorized generic, it says this:

Patriot Pharmaceutical Generics are authorized for sale to trade customers by the NDA holder of the innovator product. [Note: NDA stands for New Drug Application.  It the vehicle through which a company proposes that the FDA approve a new pharmaceutical for sale and marketing in the U.S.. Not a new generic of an existing brand, a new pharmaceutical altogether.]

The entire Patriot family of products is made by the same manufacturers that are approved in the NDAs of the innovator products.

The same qualities you relied on in the innovator pharmaceutical products during their branded lifecycle are now available in Patriot’s authorized generic line of products. [A branded life cycle means “before the patent expires”.]

—Check out the new Concerta Savings Card

If you can swing the brand Concerta, that makes things much easier!  Check the savings-terms at the link.  It works with your insurance.  Note: Does not apply in MA or CA.

—Try another stimulant option

There are many choices within the methylphenidate category, including Ritalin, Daytrana, Aptensio XR, Metadate CD, Methylin, Quillivant XR, Jornay PM, Adhansia XR, Cotempla, etc..  One of these might work better for you than Concerta. Or they all might be worse.

For the most part, you just don’t know until you try.  To be clear: These all contain the same active ingredient, methylphenidate (MPH). The only difference is in how it’s delivered to the system (how much, how quickly, etc.). And that can be a huge difference.

2. Specifying Authorized-Generic Concerta

This is the information you can share with your prescriber for your next prescription. It should help to specify the authorized-generic Concerta on your next prescription.  Here’s the short version, followed by the details:

  1. Name: Methylphenidate HCl Extended-release tablets
  2. NDC Number:  for example: 10147-0685-1
  3. Specify distributor: Patriot only
  4. How it might read overall (example): Methylphenidate HCl Extended-release tablets, 36 mg, NDC 10147-0686-1 ONLY (or, better, Patriot generic only)
  5. A special note for electronic subscriptions:  Sometimes the prescriber will specify all this in the electronic prescription but it’s not visible to the pharmacy.  Ask the pharmacy to look for the special instructions box or to print the prescription; that typically reveals full instructions.
  6. The “no substitutions” box. This is tricky. See more details below.
  7. Check the pills before you pay for them!

How long will this information remain useful?  It’s anybody’s guess. Subscribe to stay tuned — and check back often.

Here’s more details on the 5 steps above. I accessed this information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine “Daily Med” website.


Methylphenidate HCl Extended-release tablets

NOTE!  You cannot rely solely on the name. All the Concerta generics (including the authorized generic) share this name!

—NDC Number:

Each FDA-approved medication is assigned a code, the NDC (National Drug Code). Here are the numbers for Concerta’s authorized generic (the last two numbers vary by dosage):

  • 10147-0685-1 – 18 mg
  • 10147-0688-1  – 27 mg
  • 10147-0686-1  – 36 mg
  • 10147-0687-1  – 54 mg

My advice is: Ask your prescriber to specify the NDC number and “Patriot generic only.”

Note: If your pharmacy says that number is not coming up in their database, they might instead find the 11-digit billing code.

For example, the 36 mg replaces one hyphen with a zero.  That is, NDC 10147-0686-1 has a billing code of NDC 10147068601. For the full details, click here: NDC 10147-0686-1 METHYLPHENIDATE HYDROCHLORIDE.

—Distributor: Patriot

What if the pharmacy tells you, “But we can’t find that”? or “It’s on back order”?

Maybe the store or chain simply doesn’t want to order it for you.

To check, call the Patriot Pharmaceuticals customer service at 215-325-7676 

—How Should The Prescription Read Exactly?

No ironclad answers here. Your prescriber might have a preference.  The pharmacy might, too. Tip: Try to get a straight answer from the pharmacy before speaking with your physician.

In the best of all possible worlds, the script need only contain the name of the drug!  But again, in the case of Concerta generics,  they are ALL called Methylphenidate Hydrochloride (HCI) Extended-release tablets. That makes it critical to establish which one.

To be crystal clear, the prescription should read something like this (for example, for the 36 mg dose):

Methylphenidate HCl Extended-release tablets, 36 mg, NDC 10147-0686-1 ONLY (or Patriot generic only)

The “ONLY” at the end indicates, “do not substitute with another generic.”

Note: Some readers report that their pill bottles exclude the HCl (which stands for hydrochloride). If the pills say “Alza,” don’t worry about it.

—Tricky Bit #1: Generic substitution laws vary by state.  

Your prescriber must pay attention to the prescription pad checkbox that indicates “no substitutions” or “dispense as written”.

If that is checked, pharmacists typically take that to mean, “Do not substitute a generic.”  That means you might get brand—at brand prices.

But what happens when the prescriber checks that box AND specifies a generic but uses the name of the brand (Concerta) instead of Methylphenidate HCI, etc. ? Anything can happen!  That’s why you might follow my suggestion above. But again, ask your pharmacist first!

If you use a home-delivery pharmacy, consider attaching a note to the paper order form detailing clearly your request.

See Tip: Home Delivery of Prescribed Stimulant Medications

—Tricky  Bit #2: Some generics utilize a different type of osmotic technology.

But that is not the same as Alza’s patented OROS (osmotic-controlled release oral delivery system).  Many pharmacists do not know this! You might need to tell them! (But don’t count on them believing you.)

—Look Before You Pay!

What Should The Pills Look Like? Look for alza 18, 27, 36, 54 etc 

Look before you pay!

The pills should look exactly the same as the brand—because they are the brand.  It’s easy. Look for the word alza on the pill.  Not there? Then it’s not Concerta brand or authorized generic. Simple as that!

—Must the Pharmacy Fill the Prescription As Written?

It depends on your state laws.  Again, check this  article in U.S. PharmacistGeneric-Substitution Laws

—What Should The Label Look Like?

Before you leave the pharmacy or open a home-delivery bottle, look for the label.  It should say  Patriot Pharmaceuticals.

Do not pay for the prescription until you check the label and the pills themselves.  The Concerta brand/authorized-generic should look like the pills in the photo above. You can typically see this through the semi-translucent brown bottles.

3. Investigate Home-Delivery of Concerta

Does your insurance pharmacy benefit include a home-delivery pharmacy? If so, consider using it!

Again, home-delivery pharmacies typically have bigger inventory. Plus, you might be able to get a 60- or 90-day supply. Imagine enduring this misery only 6 or 4 times annually—instead of 12 times!

Yes, this is legal!   Read more here:  Tip: Home Delivery of Prescribed Stimulant Medications

4. Consider Brand Concerta

Don’t forget to look into brand. Janssen is making brand Concerta more accessible in some ways, including a savings card.

5. Background: Why This Clown Car of Concerta Generics?

When the first three Concerta genetics arrived, I started hearing from readers. Lives were going off the rails — too many to attribute to personal issues. Something larger was going on.  I share some of their stories here: Sound Off – Users of Downgraded Concerta Generics

What does “downgraded Concerta generics” mean? It means that I spoke with the FDA and, as a result, opened a formal MedWatch Complaint.  Then, readers followed through on reporting their adverse experiences on these generics.   The FDA came through for us in 2014:  Victory! Concerta Generics Downgraded

Unfortunately, the new administration that moved into the White House had other plans.  Donald Trump named a a new FDA chief, Scott Gottlieb. He was and is now, having left the FDA a short time later, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. He over-rode FDA scientists’ concerns about bioequivalence. That is, do these generics work as well as the brand versions?

This is especially critical when it comes to medications with novel delivery systems, such as Concerta’s OROS, patented technology from Alza. That’s why the FDA downgraded the original three generics. FDA scientists were pushing for new guidelines. Instead, they were simply ignored.

Next thing we know: A clown car of non-bioequivalent Concerta generics flooded the market.   Pharmacies and insurance companies have been log-rolling in response this enormous and unexpected change. But one thing’s for certain: This been a huge gift to “Big Generic.” (Check the end of this post for links to my various posts on that topic.)

Reader comments sometimes blame the “government” or the FDA for this. That’s a mistake.  We can lay this outrageous situation squarely at the feet of one administration.  (Don’t like me “bringing politics into it”?  Sorry, these are the facts!)

This turnabout came as a stunning disappointment to Concerta users. We thought that hard-won war was over.

Consumers are still able to procure the authorized-generic Concerta. But the landscape continues to shift.

6. Previously: Concerta Brand and Actavis Generic

Many years ago,  Concerta users became accustomed to receiving the authorized generic. That is the brand marketed as a generic, at generic pricing. It was marketed by a company called Actavis.

How did this come about? Concerta manufacturer Janssen made this deal to forestall Actavis introducing its own Concerta generic. That marketing agreement expired several years ago. A generic manufacturer named Teva later purchased Actavis. Then it released its own Concerta generic.

Shortly after, Concerta manufacturer Janssen made the authorized generic available through a subsidiary, Patriot Pharmaceuticals. For more than a year, largely thanks to my guidance, Concerta users were able to ask their pharmacy to order the Patriot authorized generic via an “exception process” (explained below).

A few drugstores reliably honored the request, even if it meant losing money. Walgreen’s was a particularly good “corporate citizen.”  But obviously, Walgreen’s could not continue taking such a financial hit, compounded by COVID.  If you’ve been getting the authorized-generic from an independent pharmacy, it’s might have lost money providing it.

For the most part, these generics resemble generics of Ritalin or Ritalin LA. These brand drugs already lack Concerta’s sophisticated delivery system. So you can imagine how little they resemble Concerta.  They perhaps cost pennies to make, in China or India. In factories increasingly shown to be poorly regulated.

By contrast, brand Concerta uses a proprietary technology, OROS™, from a company called Alza.  FDA guidelines on producing brand drugs are highly controlled. The medication (methylphenidate) is released at a steadily ascending rate. With the generics, it tends to be uneven, in jumps, starts, and stalls—with a fast drop-off.

7. Still Confused by Generic vs. Authorized Generic?

If you remain confused about generic vs. authorized generic and the historical changes, you might find the following information useful.

  1. If you’re still asking for Actavis/Teva, you risk an unpleasant surprise.
  2. The authorized generic is the brand; it’s simply sold as a generic. See how to request it above.
  3. The authorized generic (brand marketed and sold at generic prices) is now distributed by Patriot Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Janssen, Concerta’s manufacturer.
  4. Look for  the infographic below.
  5. Consider getting the brand until the dust settles, if it’s affordable (remember the new savings program at Concerta’s website). Or, try one of the other methylphenidate medications
  6. Always look before you pay! If the pill does not say Alza, it’s not Concerta (brand or authorized-generic)

Again: What’s An Authorized (or Branded) Generic?

I understand the confusion.  Even many pharmacists and physicians can’t tell you the difference. Even worse, many also insist that regular generic medications are “exactly the same” as brand. They are not. Consumer beware.

I’ve covered it before (again, the roundup of blog posts)  but here are the basics:

1. Authorized generic (aka branded generic):

The authorized generic is the brand. It’s only marketed and sold as a generic.

This typically happens when a brand drug patent nears expiration. Another company strikes a deal with the brand manufacturer: “We’ll delay introducing our regular generic if you agree to let us sell your brand as a generic.”

As mentioned above, that’s what happened with Concerta several years ago.  The manufacturer, Jannsen, agreed to let a company named Watson sell its brand Concerta as an authorized generic. As time went on, Watson became Actavis and Teva purchased Actavis. In the past, the prescriber could specify on the prescription: “authorized generic Concerta/Watson, etc.”—or simply OROS.

OROS™ is Concerta’s patented extended-release technology. It is owned by a company called Alza and licensed by Janssen in making Concerta. (The osmotic-controlled release oral delivery system, OROS, takes the form of a rigid tablet with a semi-permeable outer membrane and one or more small laser-drilled holes in it.)

Since then, for a variety of reasons, it’s gotten more challenging.  Pharmacies are consolidating and are less “consumer-oriented.”  Some of the new generics use other osmotic technology. As a result, some pharmacists mistake “osmotic technology” for the proprietary OROS™ from Alza.

2. True generic:

This is what most of us regard as a generic medication.  It’s a cheaper alternative to a brand medication.  It is made by a different company, not the brand’s manufacturer.

Even though it is often claimed to be “exactly the same” as the brand, it is not. In some cases, this matters little. When it comes to sophisticated delivery-system drugs, it can matter a lot.

Unfortunately, pharmacy insurance benefits increasingly force consumers to accept these generics or pay a very high cost for the brand.

For more details, read Consumer Q&A on Concerta Generics

Gina Pera authorized generic Concerta how-to

8. Now Concerta Generics From At Least Ten Companies

Over the last two years, the situation has grown even more confusing. At least seven companies released Concerta generics since July 2017 [Note: there are even more now, in 2021]:

  1. Manufacturer: ACTAVIS LABS FL
    Approval date: March 21, 2018
    Strength(s): 54MG [AB]
  2. Manufacturer: ACTAVIS LABS FL
    Approval date: March 22, 2018
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB]
    NOTE: Actavis used to be the distributor for the authorized generic Concerta; now it has its own generic.
  3. Manufacturer: ALVOGEN PINE BROOK
    Approval date: November 30, 2018
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
  4. Manufacturer: AMNEAL PHARMS
    Approval date: February 1, 2018
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
  5. Manufacturer: ANDOR PHARMS
    Approval date: April 24, 2019
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
  6. Manufacturer: ANI PHARMS INC
    Approval date: July 14, 2017
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
  7. Manufacturer: MYLAN
    Approval date: October 21, 2016
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
  8. Manufacturer: OSMOTICA
    Approval date: July 28, 2017
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
  9. Manufacturer: PAR PHARM
    Approval date: July 15, 2019
    Strength(s): 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
  10. Manufacturer: ASCENT PHARMS INC
    Approval date: September 3, 2019
    Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB ]
    NOTE: The Ascent generic (distributed by Camber) uses a barrel-shaped pill. It seems designed to fool consumers/physicians/pharmacists that this generic uses OROS. It does not.

9. Consider Filing an FDA MedWatch Complaint

To be frank, I see no hope of reversing this horrible decision by FDA Chief Gottlieb. He left after about 17 months, back to the rightwing think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.  But it would take a cataclysmic event to reverse this decision.

Still, it’s worth putting it on record. As I mentioned, the FDA in 2017 was incredibly responsive to our complaints about the first two Concerta generics. But that was before the new administration took the White House.

If you have tried one of these true generics and found it significantly inferior to brand/authorized-generic Concerta, please consider filing a MedWatch complaint with the FDA. You can download a PDF or file directly online.


For sure, this is a lot to take in!  (Guess what! it was a lot to research and attempt to write, too—and constantly re-write—not to mention field reader questions.)

I hope these quick points clarify things for you. If not, leave a question in the comments section.  Readers who have followed my suggestions precisely seem to have a higher success rate.

Many argue that without that delivery system, it cannot be a reasonable substitute for brand Concerta. FDA scientists agreed with them. That’s how my blog readers played a critical role in lobbying the FDA to reassess the first two Concerta generics. The FDA downgraded them as not being close enough to Concerta.  Then another White House forced a change.

Here is my report on that issue: Consumer Q&A on Generic Concerta

The first version of this post appeared 6/19/19 but my reporting on Concerta generics began in 2014!

I answer all questions as quickly as possible.

Gina Pera 

Would you like to support my work —in a cost-free way? 

Simply  begin your Amazon shopping expeditions in the box to the right.

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1,022 thoughts on “Authorized Generic Concerta Medication Update”

  1. Camber has got to be one of the absolute worst generics on the market. And I’m not referring to the fact that the tablet immediately dissolves inside your stomach within 30 minutes, and lasts – at most – an hour and a half.

    The thing that really just *gets* to me is how a group of people (Camber Pharmaceuticals) decided it was worth the money to make their tablet resemble the authorized generic brand made by Patriot, and as if that wasn’t enough, they THEN went on to drill a fake hole in the side of each of their tablets, a hole which does absolutely nothing.

    I was recently switched from the authorized generic by Patriot to Camber, and the difference is infuriating. I cannot believe these generics are allowed to enter the market. It is unbelievable.

    For me, I NEED the slow release mechanism that only the authorized generic can provide. Trigen comes close, but not close enough. My first day on Camber was an absolute disaster. Heart palpitations, feeling faint, falling apart (mentally) at work. And to be frank, I used to be a speed addict – for years – in my early twenties. My doctor and I had worked tirelessly to find a medication that could help my ADD, but also one that I would not feel inclined to abuse. Patriot Concerta is the only one. All the other generics make one feel *high* for a few short hours, and that sensation haunts me. To be thrown back into that dark abyss simply because a pharmaceutical company wanted to save a few bucks, it makes me want to vomit.

    Thankfully, I am being switched back to Patriot via an early refill request from my new doctor through Walgreens, and should be back on it in a few days, but these last few months (I recently moved, and had been given a 3 month supply of Camber) have been an utter disaster, emotionally speaking.

    I’m thrilled to be able to go back to the Patriot brand, but I feel nauseated thinking about anyone else who could be switched generics like I was. Getting 36mg (or any dosage) in the span of an hour as oppose to 12 hours seems outright dangerous to me. What about children? I’m a 27 year old male, but how would a change like that affect a 12 year old child who takes the medication? That is what scares me the most. I’ll be writing to the FDA (although I doubt it’ll do much good) about Camber, because it is unacceptable.

    1. Hi Ethan,

      I hear you. That’s why I’ve taken up this mission, first to get the initial inferior generics downgraded (success!) and then to help people now.

      I’ve notes in many other places in this post and in the comments…..this is NOT the fault of the FDA. The FDA cooperated wonderfully with me when I opened the MedWatch complaint in 2014. It heeded the many complaints filed by my readers and others. AND it downgraded those generics. In other words, no one would be forced to accept them as an acceptable generic for Concerta.

      But elections have consequences. A Republican kleptocracy put a crony capitalist in the FDA chief spot — and HE overrode FDA scientists’ concerns about bioquivalence.

      Yes, I will get “political.” Because this isn’t political. This is heinous theft and barbarity.

      I can’t imagine it will ever be undone. Too many companies involved now.

      As I said, elections do have consequences. This is what Republicans do in the modern era.

      good luck

    2. Dang! Just found this page and am going through the same as you right now (27f). Started at 27mg Patriot. Upped to 36mg Patriot. God send for me, absolutely perfect dosage and I too have abused stimulants in the past during late high school/college for focusing. My last 36mg script was Mylan and I had to stop taking because the god awful headaches. Told my pcp and he said the generics wouldn’t cause headaches and my dose was too high. He dropped me back to 27mg, picked it up yesterday and it’s Trigen. Exact same issue. I took one pill at 3PM and by 9:30/10:00PM I was in bed with such a severe headache I couldn’t even watch tv. Called my pcp today and asked to resend the prescription with specified Patriot only so he did. Get a call from the pharmacy and they said they can’t order Patriot but they can fill Janssen for $400 WITH my insurance. No way. Called around, found a pharmacy that can fill Patriot but now I have to wait to try to get both my pcp and the pharmacy on the same page. I feel like if I’m paying to see a doctor and people in the pharmacy have proper training then as the patient I should not have to be doing all this work. Both my pcp and the pharmacists acted like I was crazy for explaining the differences in the manufacturers. I have a very high metabolism and very high tolerance to medications as well. If I’m struggling with these generic versions I don’t understand how it works well for others. I know everyone reacts differently to medications but these generics suck so badly I don’t see them ever performing that great. I guess if I had never tried Patriot to begin with I may have never known there was a better option though so maybe that’s why some people stick with the others. I’ve been sorting this out for three months now and am severely struggling as a stay-at-home first time mom to a 9 month old but I’d rather not take medication then be crippled by the headaches at the end of each day.

    3. Hi Hannah,

      You and your baby deserve better.

      It’s CRAZY that we have to be this pro-active. But it’s the situation we’re in now.

      It’s also CRAZY that one of the few ADHD voices online who has NEVER accepted pharma support is the one doing this work, uncompensated.

      But there ya go. Lots of crazy. 🙂

      Good luck!

  2. I noticed something different with my alza 36 mg today. I busted the capsule open to find the yellow part of the pill was just the part that sealed it under the white outside layer. The entire half of the medication is white. Has the medication been altered or am I receiving a placebo?

    1. Hi Brian,

      I’m not sure why you would open the capsule. You know you’re not supposed to do that, right?

      Brand Concerta has a tightly controlled production process. FDA standards are high for brands.

      If you have brand or “authorized-generic” Concerta, you don’t have any problems.


  3. Hi,

    I followed your advice and contacted Patriot directly. Turns out they have a small division especially to watchdog pharmacies they have contracts with who are not providing consumers with the Patriot brand generic Concerta. I told her where I lived in NYC and she told me which pharmacies to go to and if they tell me they don’t carry it to contact her and someone from Patriot would reach out to Corporate (of the pharmacy) and they would make sure all the pharmacists know how to order it. I was lucky because by the time my prescription was sent, they must have already followed through because the pharmacist told me they would order it and have it within two days. For anyone reading this in Manhattan, Rite Aid in the east village (on 1st Avenue and 5th Street) now carries Patriot.

    1. Hi! I have been calling Patriot, but they told me they are not able to tell me which pharmacies carry the Patriot brand, and basically told me I didn’t have any option besides calling pharmacies. Do you remember how you were able to speak to that division?

    2. Hi Sarah,

      If you’re calling the number in my post, you’re calling the right number. Don’t press any of the other options. Just “customer service.”

      That said, this is a situation in flux. It might be that things are changing. Or, it might be that you should call back at a different time and hope to speak to someone more helpful.

      good luck

    3. Thank you so much Patty, I reside in NYC as well and have to change insurance companies, they will not cover Concerta and I was having a panic attack, Thank you so much Patty and Gina!!

  4. Hi Gina,

    Thank your for all the valuable info. I’m in California and I’m running into issues with getting my pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) to uphold an approved prior authorization (PA) for brand name Concerta. I had previously tried the non-authorized generic Methylphenidate ER and had an adverse reaction so my doctor submitted a PA for brand name Concerta.

    Now that the PA has been approved, my PBM is charging a penalty of $331 in addition to the copay for choosing the brand name drug over the generic form. Is this legal if the PA specifically states Concerta? My plan typically has me pay 35% of the cost if the drug is non-formulary. With the penalty, I would have to pay $404 each time I fill my script which is basically retail price!

    1. Hi Layla,

      Is there some reason you opted for the prior authorization and the brand Concerta….instead of the authorized-generic?

      Sorry I can’t help you with the legalities. You want to read your policy very careful. That might be spelled out.


  5. Hi Gina,

    My son has been on the Concerta authorized generic for a few years now, and things were going well since last summer, but now apparently there is a manufacturer backorder on the Patriot authorized generic. I’ve had to call every pharmacy in the city the last two months to find one with product on-hand. My son has been out of medication for about 2 weeks now, and pharmacies either can’t order it, or won’t order it because the insurance reimbursement isn’t enough to be worth their while. For example, a bottle of 100 tablets of Patriot costs ~$820, but my insurance only reimburses the pharmacy ~$83 per 30-day supply. While the other generics only cost ~$40-50 per bottle. I don’t blame a small independent pharmacy for not wanting to lose $600 just on one patient. I don’t know what else to do at this point.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Do you have a home-delivery benefit? That might be your best bet.

      Otherwise, maybe try one of the Concerta generics. Maybe it will work for your son. Or, try one of the other methylphenidate products.

      I think something might be better than nothing.

      Good luck!

    2. I’ve had the same conversation with my local indie pharmacy. I understand there to be three options: authorized generic, for which they pay a lot but insurance and patient pay a little; generic, which is cheap for everyone; or brand, for which they pay a bunch but insurance and patient pay enough to make it worth it.

      I’ve never asked them to order the authorized generic because they’ve done me a lot of good over the years and I feel bad. I went through the prior authorization process with my doctor/insurance, which allows me to fill the brand Rx if my doc writes “brand necessary” on it. For this I pay a $50 copay instead of $10.

      If you have a similar insurance situation and can afford it, it may be worth looking into getting brand. Independent pharmacies are much more willing to keep it in stock, from my experience.

      However, I will say this month I had troubles. My usual pharmacy said they had supply chain issues. All of their suppliers were showing 0 inventory of brand Concerta.

      I found another local indie (I haven’t found a chain that stock brand, and those that would be willing to order it at all seemed reluctant and promised “at least” 7-10 business day turnaround time) who had enough in stock this month. I don’t know what will happen next month. I asked my doc to rewrite my Rx for Ritalin LA but she didn’t want to change my meds just because I was nervous about a supply chain issue.

      Hopefully it all works out (for all of us). Getting these meds filled can feel so frustrating and time consuming and just…demoralizing. But I definitely echo Gina’s sentiment that something is usually better than nothing in this case. What a production number though!

  6. Hi Gina I am so glad that someone is carrying the torch in relation to the differences and the ramifications of taking the generic Concerta’s ! The information that you provide is the most accurate and straightforward that I have read ! I had an ADHD clinic for 30 years ! Certainly I’ve gone through a lot of the pros and cons of the various types of methylphenidate-based medications ! I decided to come out of retirement to take on a few of the more difficult cases that the GP’s could not sort out ! In my letter to the doctor I would ask them to prescribe Concerta without substitute OROS only ! I would also ask the client to check the pill itself for the letters ALZA ! Basically I guess I did not or chose not to deal with any generics ! And of course I gave co-pay cards to those who may find the extra expense a burden ! Thank you so much for the work that you were doing and I guess I’m just asking if this strategy would still work or might they find a way to circumvent these instructions ! Thanks a lot ! Gary

    1. HI Gary,

      I’m not just carrying the torch. I built the torch and have kept it lit since 2014.:-)

      I opened the original FDA MedWatch complaint that resulted in the first two inferior generics getting downgraded.

      Now there are too many to fight.

      It’s more than just checking for Alza now or asking not to substitute. For most people, that means they will be paying a brand price, and it will usually be high.

      The co-pay cards work for some folks, depending on insurance, but they don’t work in MA or CA.

      These instructions still work, last I checked, which was last week.

      But they must be understood and followed carefully.

      Good luck!

  7. WOW, this is a very dense informational page. I began treatment for ADD with Concerta when I was 9 years old. Even then, in 2005, it was a nightmare getting the OROS. But I had learned to invoke ‘Actavis’ at every pharmacy until I got a hit. Went back to school this January, now im 28, and so the concerta became necessary again. HOLY. SHIT. I cant get what I need at all its looking like. The time release on these generics are so poor as to almost be a detriment. If you dont know, there are about 4 or five ways to control the release of a medication into the body, and all of them fall short (with methylphenidate and a great deal many other medications, confirmed by a pharmacy doctorate) because they go from fast to slow. That is, the amount being released at the end of the time, is less than the start or some peak between. Membranes, fast to slow. Variable dissolving layers, complete joke. Prodrugs that use metabolism, mostly fast to slow, but you only ever get the one choice so… Even complexing, whereby the drug molecule is stuck, 3-? many times, to a larger central molecule. The result gets called a complex, and through digestion/metabolism each of the drug molecule breaks off and becomes available, is pretty much fucking fast. to. slow…… you see the problem? the glaring tell that reveals a bloated and corrupt but unopposable and inextricable thing known only as..pharmaceutical. But let us not utter its name, for it is unholy and terrible. yea. hiding its OROS treasures like a vicious dragon.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Hey, I’m all for pharmaceuticals. Seems you are, too.

      In this case, however, it’s “Big Generic” that’s sociopathically exploited loopholes — allowed by a sociopathic White House administration, in 2017.

      Many people are succeeding in getting the authorized-generic or brand. Some can even use Janssen’s Concerta savings program.

      But it takes a few extra steps.

      In my experience, home-delivery pharmacies are the best bet.

      good luck!

    2. You’re right, thank you for the clarification. Big Generic is indeed the only winner here.

  8. UPDATE!
    (That may also be of some help to you all)

    I had spoken with my pharmacy before my last Doc appointment. I gave them the NDC over the phone to ask if they could order it (CVS Pharmacy). They said yes. Then I asked them specifically what it had to say on the script so I could tell my Doc.

    She stated it needed to say
    “Patriot Pharmaceuticals Generic ONLY (NDC CODE for your dosage)”.

    Spoke with my Doc, and he was happy to put that on the script for me. YAY!

    So here’s the interesting part that may be SUPER helpful to ya’ll.

    I go to pick up my script Monday, checked, they got the wrong one (BS Trigen). I checked at the counter so OBV I didn’t take it. I also informed them that my prescription was very specific, and that wasn’t the correct thing.

    Spoke with the other girl where you would drop off a script, turns out she was the same girl I spoke with to check ahead of time. AWESOME!

    So she checks. APPARENTLY depending on what input field the Doc writes the specifics in the electronic prescription, they CANT SEE IT ON THE SCREEN! Once she actually PRINTED the script, there it was under “MD Notes:” written clear as day. They would never have seen it without printing! (seems like a flaw in the system to me)

    She’s ordering the correct one and I should be able to pick it up Wednesday. BUT she said if you get your prescriptions submitted electronically they need to write that info (NDC was SUPER important) in the SIG part of the electronic prescription, not the MD Notes, so its seen ON SCREEN, to them.

    She also said I can call once he sends the script (he usually does it right then and I get a text from CVS its processing that day), and remind them to get the right one.

    Anyway, thought this would help ya’ll.
    Hope they get it right Wednesday. It’s on order.
    And that they accept the GoodRX, lol

    1. Hi Jackie,

      That’s very. kind of you. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

      That IS a very important point — about the pharmacist not always seeing the specifications. I had the same thing happen at Walgreen’s …. thought I noted that somewhere in here, but maybe not. I should write an update.

      I have to say, that sounds like a rare CVS. I hope they come through for you.

      Again, thank you!


    2. Anddddd I get here and ‘it didn’t come in’. And their invoice says ‘restricted’. Though first she said backordered.

      She’s calling their supplier or something. I have a call into the patriot number above. But it’s almost 6pm. So I won’t hear from them till tomorrow. Their voice mail stated it manufactured and fully in stock and shipping to all wholesalers. So. ‍♀️

      I told her I would call the manufacturer directly as well just to show I’m not letting this go.


    3. Hi Jackie,

      I was afraid of that. 🙁

      Personally, I wouldn’t waste energy with CVS.

      I’m sure she’s doing her best — but running into corporate. And sometimes, it’s a matter of what your insurance will allow.

      Maybe Walgreen’s or other. Or home delivery.


    4. Yeah my next option is to send it to Walgreens.
      I’ll wait to hear from Patricia tomorrow.
      Both are convenient to me, though I have never gotten a prescription at Walgreens before.

      I also asked them about name brand. Though my insurance doesn’t cover it, I downloaded the savings card direct from concertas website.
      I asked if they could run it through to tell me what I would owe and she said ‘we need to have a prescription for that’. Like… you have one????
      I’ve got some of the Trigen left though they don’t do much. So I’ll be no worse off for another week or so.

      I have found mushroom supplements and ashwagandha to be useful as well.

    5. Hi Jackie,
      I had better luck with a local independent pharmacy rather than a big chain. Patricia gave me a list over the phone of ones nearby and after double checking, I had the doc send the prescription there. Price was about $71 with insurance. Good luck.

    6. Jackie,

      I am having the exact same issue with trying to order the patriot pharma version. They also claimed that they will fill it from then until today when I tried to pick it up and it said restricted as well. Please let me know how it goes with Walgreens.

    7. Daniel,
      I called the phone numbers listed above for help from Patriot.

      She said CVS will NOT get it.

      She gave me a list of local pharmacies, she also said she has a contact with RiteAid. And that Walgreens is 50/50.

      If you call the numbers above they’ll take down your contact info and city/zip code and they will be able to tell you which has ordered them in the past.

      I’m checking with the grocery store pharmacy tomorrow. The small mom and pop she gave me isn’t in a good area, so I’m trying the rest of the first.

    8. New update:

      Was able to get the 27MG last month from a local grocery store pharmacy. They actually HAD IT IN STOCK. But. I got the last of the bottle. Lol. He was upping me to 36mg for this month anyway.

      So I send it in. Literally 2.5 weeks early as I knew they would have to submit extra stuff. Apparently the local grocery store pharmacy changed their wholesaler beginning of March… to the same one as CVS. Just my luck. AND…. Corporate refuses to order it.

      My pharmacist was trying to help but corporate literally went with ‘no it’s too expensive.’ So… I contacted corporate. With a STRONGLY worded email (because you can’t call the corporate pharmacy department). We’ll see if they get back to me.

      So I went to my local Walgreens. Asked if they could get it, they said yes. It was listed as in stock with their wholesaler Ameri-something. Had my script edited and sent AGAIN (my poor drs office). Just spoke with them and they put my on hold and said YES they can get it and it should be here Friday or Monday. HORRAY!!!

      And, as I haven’t met my deductible yet, I’ll stick with GoodRX, which last time dropped it from $178 to $38. If they make me pay the $178 it’s fine, but I’ll take a $140 savings any day.

      Here’s to hoping that this is the last time I have to do this as I should be sticking at this dose (it’s the one I was on as a kid/teen for like 15 years.).

      Random updates:
      It’s been 7 weeks and I have yet to hear back from CVS.
      Local grocery pharmacy corporate called me back, but I missed the call at work. They didn’t leave a phone number. (Shocker) but said they would ‘try again’. Bet they don’t.

      •Ask who your pharmacy wholesaler is! If it’s Cardinal (CVS, and apparently my local grocery) they likely won’t bother, so don’t waste your time.
      •Use the NDC codes.
      •And FOLLOW UP. Every time a script has been sent I have CALLED (or stopped in) to verify what it says so I know I’m getting the right thing. Better to be proactive then to wait for it to be ‘ready’ and then it’s not the right thing and you’re waiting longer to correct it.

    9. Yes, Jackie, about the follow up.

      In the South we call it “bird-dogging.” I’ve been bird-dogging my husband’s Rx for 20 years. lol

  9. I’m so tired of fighting to get the right meds every month. My family is tired of it to because I meltdown every time and they hate to see me go through it.
    I’m about ready to look at other options. How do the other MPH formulations compart to Concerta, especially in terms of duration? I’ve been on Concerta pretty much since it hit the market and I love it. I was on all the Ritalins back in the day as they came out. They worked but I hate the multiple does and ups/downs through the day. When the Concerta debacle first started I tried Adderall. Didn’t really work. I took dexadrine before Concerta and it was an absolute disaster. Even did Cylert back before they realized it could kill you.
    Thank you so much for all the work you put in to this. I don’t know where I would be without it.

    1. Hi Erinn,

      I know. It’s a slog, to put it mildly. It’s exhausting for me, too. 🙂

      It’s really impossible to compare MPH formulations. So much depends on the individual neurochemistry.

      Some people report liking some of the Concerta generics BETTER than the brand. Because that release profile works best for THEM.

      Concerta’s patented OROS delivery system is pretty darn hard to beat. But it’s expensive. That’s why the inferior generics don’t include it.

      Here’s a list of new’ish MPH choices from the link below -— I try to get first-hand reports but there are so many choices I can’t gather sufficient data worth considering.

      New stimulant formulations approved since 2010 include MPH extended-release oral suspension (Quillivant XR), MPH extended-release chewable tablets (QuilliChew ER), multilayer-release MPH (Aptensio XR), MPH extended-release orally disintegrating tablet (Cotempla XR-ODT), AMPH extended-release orally disintegrating tablets (Adzenys XR-ODT), MPH delayed-release and extended-release (Jornay PM), and MPH multilayer-release 16 hour (Adhansia XR) .

      You might check out any savings programs and see which looks most promising. And to see if there are insurance formulary restrictions. Process of elimination, in other words.

      Good luck!

    2. I am right there with you. Tired of the monthly battle and my wife is tired of hearing it, too. I was on Ceba Ritalin for years until discontinued. Next, adderall for 5 years causing me to loose my mind and my 20+ years old business. Brand/authorized generic Concerta works great for me but tired of the constant battle.

    3. Yes, I too would be interested in hearing from those who have experience with other long-acting MPH formulations. Especially curious about Aptensio XR (came out in 2015 and has a generic) and Adhansia XR (came out in 2019, no generic yet.) Also Focalin XR (unique among the others, as it is a single isomer, i.e. not racemic.) It has generics made by multiple companies, but I don’t seem to hear much about this med from actual users.

    4. Hi Ann,

      Focalin sort of came in with a big splash, years ago. But its popularity has tapered off. Can’t explain why exactly. But often reality seldom measures up to the hyper.

      I understand the curiosity about others’ experiences with these other Rx. But in the end, those don’t matter. What matters is how your individual neurochemistry reacts to them. And that happens only with trial and error.

      good luck,

  10. My daughter was just diagnosed and prescribed Metadate CD. That didn’t last long enough, so she was switched to Concerta . She’s taking the Camber generic and she’s doing so well. She’s so happy, focused, and relaxed, but still energetic and passionate. Her mood and energy level is very consistent throughout the day, She’s also sleeping better than she ever has. Since the Camber generic is working so well for her, is there any reason to switch? Or is it OK for her to continue taking it since she’s doing so well?

    1. Hi P’s Mom,

      I’d say there’s no reason to get the brand/authorized generic unless/until there is a problem.

      Again, there is nothing “wrong” with these generics. They just don’t work as Concerta does. For millions of people who might be forced to accept the generics, that is a problem.

      You say she was “just” diagnosed. I’ve seen some newly diagnosed folks do well on one of these generics…only for it to become more problematic over time. So, it’s something to watch.

      good luck!

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