Having trouble receiving the authorized generic Concerta medication for ADHD — again? Well, you’re in the right place.
Most of the information in this post won’t help you to get Concerta now. But it does explain the background around Concerta and its generics since 2014.
Two Major Updates –
1. Janssen has stopped the authorized generic.
The official cut-off date was 1/13/23. But the last supplies had mostly been distributed weeks before, according to a Janssen representative. You might still find pockets of availability. At least for a while.
2. I am re-leading the effort to downgrade these generics – FDA Medwatch
These generics are nothing like Concerta. That makes a world of difference for untold numbers of people currently relying on Concerta to function. They were FDA-approved over the objections of FDA scientists, due to concerns about bioequivalence.
These generics (that I describe in this post, originating in 2017) come to us courtesy of Big Generic and Trump’s FDA Chief.
Robert Gottlieb, MD, was and is a venture capitalist who has a medical degree.
Previous to his short FDA stint (2017-2019), he had long harangued against FDA regulations for complex delivery-system medications (e.g. Concerta’s). Shortly before Trump slotted him at the FDA, he was at the American Enterprise Institute and on the board of a vaping company. (Vaping Venture Poses Potential Conflict for Trump’s FDA Nominee).
That was 2017. It’s now 2023. With high hopes that decent people can again help right these wrongs,. I am re-launching the effort to downgrade these indecent generics.
Please go to this link (FDA Medwatch) to state any adverse experience with any of the Concerta generics (you’ll find the list of companies below). If you’ve thrown away the bottle, try to get the info from your pharmacy.
It probably won’t be helpful to provide a lot number, though. This is not a manufacturing problem. This is a exploitative Big Generic problem, which is unfortunately consistent lot to lot.
The rest of this post might still be useful to you, insofar as understanding the difference between Concerta, its authorized-generic (gone 1/13/23), and its other generics. But please know that the recommended method of getting the authorized-generic (brand sold at a generic price) is no longer relevant. For now. Things could change. Stay tuned!
Please Support This Reader Service
- Since 2014, I’ve taken the lead in first successfully 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 legwork.
- 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” rejecting pharma support. 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!
Quick Summary Points on Concerta Generics:
As the first and only person to cover — and advocate on — this issue in-depth since 2014, I can tell you:
- I aim for simplicity. 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!) And I try to keep it well-organized and scannable.
- 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”—little different than a generic Ritalin.
- 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 with one of the big warehouse pharmacies (e.g. Express Scripts), that might be your best bet. Seriously. See Home Delivery of Stimulant Medications
- It might be that one of these generics suits you better than Concerta. That isn’t the issue.
- What is the issue? 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 on Authorized-Generic Concerta:
Again, December 2022 had us in a rapidly changing situation. We were waiting for the year-end supply issues to resolve AND waiting to see if Concerta manufacturer Janssen would continue making the medication available as a brand.
Again, that means any information about obtaining the authorized-generic is outdated. Still, you might find this background illuminating.
- Your best options now — overview
- How to specify the authorized-generic for Concerta on the prescription – step by step
- Consider home-delivery pharmacy, if you have that benefit (yes, it’s legal for stimulants!) — please know there’s a difference between a local pharmacy that delivers to your home and a “home-delivery pharmacy” (e.g. Express Scripts, PrimeMail, etc.) These large warehouses typically are more likely to have the authorized generic and allow 60- or 90-day supplies. So much easier!
- Consider brand; there’s a Concerta coupon now
- Background: How this clown car of Concerta generics burst onto the scene
- Whatever happened to the “Actavis” generic?
- Now — Concerta generics from at least ten companies!
- Still confused about generic vs authorized generic?
- Consider filing an FDA Medwatch Complaint. This is not the FDA’s fault. Please don’t blame “government.” This was a cynical, profitable move by the previous administration’s FDA Chief—a huge gift to “Big Generic”
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 initially 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.). But that can be a huge difference.
2. Specifying Authorized-Generic Concerta
Share this information 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:
- Name: Methylphenidate HCl Extended-release tablets
- NDC Number: for example: 10147-0685-1
- Specify distributor: Patriot only
- How it might read overall (example): Methylphenidate HCl Extended-release tablets, 36 mg, NDC 10147-0686-1 ONLY (or, simply Patriot generic only)
- 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.
- Always provide the information specifically to your prescriber. Each time. Some prescribers tell me they cannot see what they wrote for a previous prescription when they go to write the next one. Make their job easier—and ensure your success in getting the right Rx.
- The “no substitutions” box. This is tricky. See more details below.
- 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!
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.” At least the first time. It might be unnecessary after that.
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.
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.
As the issue first emerged, the prescription should have 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.”
Now that the Patriot generic is more familiar to pharmacists, adding the NDC might be overkill.
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. Pharmacist: Generic-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 Or Coverage Exception
Don’t forget to look into brand. Janssen is making brand Concerta more accessible in some ways, including a savings card.
- Check your pharmacy benefit’s cost for brand Concerta
- See if you qualify for Concerta’s savings program
- Check out savings from GoodRx
Have you already tried one of the inferior generics, to poor effect? You might ask your pharmacy-benefits-manager about pre-authorization or “medical coverage exception.” This is where your prescriber documents your previous experience and why you need the brand.
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 shared 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, following the helpful representative’s suggestion, 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, MD. 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’ longheld concerns about bioequivalence. That is, do these generics work as well as the brand versions?
This is especially critical when it comes to 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.
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 enormously 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, and facts still matter.)
This turnabout came as a stunning disappointment to Concerta users. We thought that hard-won war was over.
Fortunately for consumers, Janssen continues to make available 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.
- If you’re still asking for Actavis/Teva, you risk an unpleasant surprise.
- The authorized generic is the brand; it’s simply sold as a generic. See how to request it above.
- The authorized generic (brand marketed and sold at generic prices) is now distributed by Patriot Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Janssen, Concerta’s manufacturer.
- Look for the infographic below.
- 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 brand methylphenidate medications
- Always look before you pay! If the pill does not say alza, it’s not Concerta (brand or authorized-generic). Simple!
Again: What’s An Authorized 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:
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
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]:
- Manufacturer: ACTAVIS LABS FL
Approval date: March 21, 2018
Strength(s): 54MG [AB]
- 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.
- Manufacturer: ALVOGEN PINE BROOK
Approval date: November 30, 2018
Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
- Manufacturer: AMNEAL PHARMS
Approval date: February 1, 2018
Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
- Manufacturer: ANDOR PHARMS
Approval date: April 24, 2019
Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
- Manufacturer: ANI PHARMS INC
Approval date: July 14, 2017
Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
- Manufacturer: MYLAN
Approval date: October 21, 2016
Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
- Manufacturer: OSMOTICA
Approval date: July 28, 2017
Strength(s): 18MG [AB], 27MG [AB], 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
- Manufacturer: PAR PHARM
Approval date: July 15, 2019
Strength(s): 36MG [AB], 54MG [AB]
- 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, it’s going to be much harder to reverse this horrible decision by the Trump White House’s FDA Chief Gottlieb. He left after about 17 months, back to the rightwing think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. It would take a cataclysmic event to reverse this decision. And they all knew it.
Still, it’s worth putting it on record. As I mentioned, the FDA in 2014 was incredibly responsive to our complaints about the first two Concerta generics. Then a new White House occupant moved in.
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. Click here to go directly to the FDA Medwatch form.
For sure, this is a lot to take in! (Guess what! It was a lot for me to research and write, too—and constantly re-write—not to mention field 100s of 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.
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1,164 thoughts on “Authorized-Generic Concerta Medication Update”
I was able to get brand approved by my insurance. I called my insurance and spoke with them, asked them what needed to be filled out and submitted. They directed me to a Prior Authorization form on their website. I filled out most of it (the specifics about there no longer being an authorized generic and specifics on what the other ‘generics’ caused as far as issues.); sent it off to my doctor who filled out there little bit (diagnosis codes, their provider info, ect.) I got approval within 2 days (my insurance quoted 3-5 business days). I have approval for Brand Concerta THROUGH 2039 (provided I remain with the same insurance obv.) I then downloaded the savings card from the Concerta website, since I hadn’t met my deductible yet (FYI if you process through GoodRX it DOES NOT hit your deductible). So that saved me another $150. Once I hit my deductible this year it will be a Tier 3 medication at $50/month with my insurance… maybe its $30, I forget. The savings card should cover all of that either way.
My advice, call your insurance and ask what the procedure is for a prior authorization for a medication and where to find that form. Fill in what you can yourself, and send to your doctor to finish and submit.
Wow, good for you, Jackie!
Yes, I included that very advice in my latest post on Concerta:
What insurance company do you have? Was name brand Concerta considered a plan exclusion with your insurance plan?
I’m in the process now of an internal appeal. My claim got denied automatically since it’s a plan excluded drug. However I filled out the the form they have, wrote my own detailed letter, and my doctor also wrote one as well. I have Florida Blue insurance, if it’s not covered it’s 1341 dollars for a 90 day supply lol.
Hoping my internal appeal gets approved! And I can get reimbursed.
Thank you for your reply in advance!
I have a local insurance in NYS. Concerta brand was not part of my insurances formulary. Only generics for that medication. (Same for Adderall, though Vyvanese would be covered).
Anyway. Where you went wrong was getting the meds FIRST and then trying to appeal. You’re 100% going to loose that appeal.
What you need to do is ask them the process for PRIOR APPROVAL BEFORE you get your prescription. They will have a specific form for that (you can likely search it from your insurances website). That needs to be filled out by your doctor (I helped with my insurance and pharmacy info as well as what I remember about reactions to previous genetics to make it easier on my doctor). That needs to be submitted and then your WAIT for approval before getting your meds. They *should* notify your pharmacy directly once it’s approved. They told them about 3 days before I got my letter in the mail.
Stress on the form that there is NOT an adequate generic any longer since they discontinued production of the authorized generic.
But you’re not getting back anything that you paid for non covered meds. I hope you do. But I doubt it.
If they do grant prior approval, it will be billed as the highest tier of meds for your plan.
Also I hope you got the savings card from the Concerta website. That would have saved you $150 at least. Maybe triple that as I think it might be $150/month.
Thanks for your reply Jackie! Maybe I wasn’t completely clear with my first response. I did not place a prescription first. I submitted all of that stuff before hand (while I had 40 pills left of the Patriot) and it was denied, pre authorization etc. So I had to then start a pre service appeal process.
However the appeal process does take a while and I had to get a prescription, so I have to move forward with paying for the concerta during my appeal or I will not have any medication. After speaking to my insurance they did mention if appeal is approved I could get reimbursement. However my most important goal is to get it approved so I don’t have to pay astronomical amounts each month for name brand.
I remain hopeful! God bless!
I came across this post whilst looking for info on my current “magic” generic and how to make sure I stay on it. My previous one was literally as good
as taking nothing at all and the current one is literal life-changing magic.
Imagine my surprise to discover the one that did NOTHING for me was apparently the real Concerta (the Alza pill) and the magic one that has changed my life is a supposedly inferior generic!
Have you heard of this happening before?? I did notice when I first started stims that I noticed a big difference between immediate release Ritalin and the Concerta – Ritalin was magical and I didn’t understand why Concerta, purportedly the same medicine just released at a steady dose, was ineffective. Until I got downgraded (to NDC 13811070910, I believe Tiegen makes it) and my life has changed completely. I mean I am literally a different person on it. The only way I could even get by on the real Concerta was by taking 5mg immediate release Ritalins a couple times during the day to top up – even though i was at 54mg. With the non-Alza generic I don’t have that issue.
I know brains are complicated and you aren’t a doctor. But it seems a bit crazy that the “real stuff” did zip zilch zero for me, and the “cheap substitution” turns me into a different (better!) person. So I’m curious if you’ve heard of this happening before.
I understand your confusion. And I try to clarify in pretty much every article I’ve posted on generic Concerta.
The unfortunate truth is, I know more about this than most doctors.
Each stimulant has a certain “profile” — that is, the rate at which the methylphenidate is released.
Some start with a large amount and go a bit higher before wearing off somewhat abruptly.
Some start with a small amount, gradually go higher, and gradually taper off.
Concerta’s profile works very well for MANY people. But it doesn’t work well for everyone. Same is true for all the stimulant choices.
The problem with the Concerta generics is that they work nothing like Concerta works. That is the problem. Generics should be “bioequivalent” to the brand. These are not.
Big Generic exploited loopholes that FDA scientists wanted to close, thanks to Trump’s FDA chief.
So while that generic might work well for you, it doesn’t work as Concerta works. That’s a problem for Concerta users who are forced to accept these generics as a good substitute.
Bottom line: These generics are not bio-equivalent to Concerta. That is the standard for generics, an they don’t meet it. It’s all a manipulation.
I hope that clarifies.
Thank you for your reporting. I called Janssen and they said they don’t have any information on the issue of the discontinuation, but if my doctor or pharmacy calls they can give them more information. Who did you speak with at Janssen who confirmed that Concerta Patriot is being discontinued?
I provide this as a free public service. If you don’t know me or my work — or my record for accuracy — please learn more.
I barely have time to deal with this ongoing saga, much less substantiate my sources to readers who don’t know me.
Here’s a link to patriot’s discontinuation on the FDA drug shortage list. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/drugshortages/dsp_ActiveIngredientDetails.cfm?AI=Methylphenidate+Hydrochloride+Extended+Release+Tablets&st=d&tab=tabs-2
Thanks, Josh. It’s in the post, too.
I never throw away medication except liquids. Every dose I skip I save so that when the psychiatrist’s assistant forgets to call in my prescription or the medication is out of stock and I have to wait an extra week for it or whatever, I have a buffer for when I need it. I’ve saved all my opoids I’ve gotten for past dental procedures and they have come in handy when recenty the medical community decides they want to protect the public and not prescribe pain medication despite the fact you have a case of the shingles or you’ve thrown your back out. Absolutely rediculous. I have a particular short-acting ADD med I can get away with one instead of two quite often. Too much government regulation on medication. Do what you can to protect yourself!
Hi again Gina, I’m in the weeds of it now lol! Looking at 2 things : 1) orange book TE ratings. You can see the “event” presumably from 2017 when allllll these Concerta generics got given AB ratings! I saw a press announcement from Amneal pharma dated 2018 saying they were looking at approval for an AB rated Concerta generic. Looking at orange book currently though, their entry is listed as BX! Could it be that FDA is doing it differently post -2017 ?! A couple others also listed as BX haven’t checked their provenance.
Oops ! 2) was the press release from Amneal about an AB rated Concerta that turns out to be BX now .
Yes, as I wrote, when Trump took office and named an FDA Chief, that chief overrode FDA scientists’ concerns about bioequivalence. 2017 is when it all started happening.
Gut you don’t need to reinvent the wheel piecemeal. Just scan my Concerta posts over almost a decade. 🙂
Search on the blog for Concerta.
I explain it ALL.
To your point here, see 5#. Background: Why This Clown Car of Concerta Generics?
Yes thanks so much Gina I have looked a little at that and will continue to do so–there is so much to explore and I appreciate so much all your work! What I’m wondering about is whether the Amneal situation might reflect a change *back* to how things were before the clown-car! That is, Amneal announces to investors –hey guys, good news, we are about to put out an AB rated Concerta generic! That was in early 2018. Gottlieb was maybe still in, maybe out, don’t know. Then, hmm, something happened apparently because it’s not listed as AB now in Orange Book. Hmm. Maybe the FDA with *new* applicants anyway started actually requiring what they had been requiring? Gottlieb did over-rides on specific generics, right, not changing the whole AB approval process, yeah? Thanks again for all your work!
Unfortunately, my time is extremely limited. And unlike the scads of “ADHD experts and advocates” online, I don’t take pharma industry support. This has been a huge undertaking for more than a decade.
I have to prioritize my time to focus on what I consider the most salient facts for readers.
That is, how can we deal with this right now AND how can we submit FDA MedWatch complaints. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm?action=consumer.reporting1
From what I can tell, Big Generic is a bunch of unconscionable slimeballs.
I can’t see how whatever happened with Amneal makes any different right now. But that’s above my pay grade. If you can figure it out, great!
Gottlieb was FDA chief May 2017 until April 2019. How exactly he finagled this giant gift to Big Generic is beyond me.
I’m happy to know whatever “inside baseball” you learn that might be useful to readers.
Maybe the problem is that Teva isn’t licensing OROS, which is really the secret sauce. Their patent is supposed to expire in 2024, so maybe others will be able to develop their own version of OROS. In this case, I think the brand company is being stingy with something so valuable that would make all of our lives easier.
Yes, that’s the point I’ve made in my MANY posts on this topic. OROS is what makes MPH Concerta. Without it, it’s just more Ritalin generics.
I don’t know what is up with Janssen, and I am hoping that we see more affordable Concerta in 2023.
In fact, Janssen made the brand/authorized-generic available LONG after the patent expiration. I can’t think of another example where that happened.
The problem here is Trump’s FDA Chief and his love for Big Generic. They created this mess. It was all going fine until that happened.
I’m definitely wondering if something is happening as of Jan 1st? After two years with insurance requiring branded only, we received notice that we are back to generic only. I will be able to fill my sons prescription (assuming they have it) just before the end of the year, so we’ll be ok for a little while, but what happens after that makes me nervous.
Yes, everything is shifting.
A flood of cheap generics was bound to upset the whole situation. Janssen seemed to have struck deals with certain pharmacies/insurers to supply the brand.
But now….it’s a different ballgame. We’ll see…
Hi Gina, thanks for all you do!
Am I incorrect in believing that J&J owns Alza? Bought it years ago?
Oh gosh, M. You’re right! And that’s a great point.
I don’t know how these subsidiaries work….if Janssen would still have to pay Alza to use OROS.
I am hoping 2023 gives us more clarity on Janssen’s game plan. If there is one. To make Concerta brand more accessible to more people.
thanks so much for reminding me of that!
J & J also owns Jannsen.
Yes, J&J owns Janssen. That’s why I suggested that a boycott of J&J products might be in order.
Removing the product is one thing. Giving longtime customers no heads-up? Quite another.
Curious if anyone knows more about the Ascent (Camber) Concerta generic specifically. My 7-year-old son had been getting the 27mg barrel-shaped capsule for several months. After trying various methylphenidate formulations, this was the first one that has worked REALLY well with no major side effects. However, since August it’s been difficult to get a full fill, and now all my local pharmacies that carry it can’t get it in stock at all. I worry it may be discontinued, but my research hasn’t turned up anything.
We then got the Trigen generic from another pharmacy, and that was just awful for him. And that experience led me here!
Thanks to this extremely informative post, we tried the Patriot generic, only to find he doesn’t tolerate that well either (decreased efficacy, new signs of depression, and he generally doesn’t like how he feels on it). We may try Brand Concerta, but I don’t have high hopes given how he responds to the *authorized* generic.
So following all that, my question: has anyone else had success with the Ascent/Camber generic, and have you found another generic, or other formulation, that works similarly?
FYI – the brand Concerta IS the authorized-generic. Same thing. Same manufacturer. Same everything. So if your son did poorly on the brand, no need to try the authorized-generic.
Your difficulty in getting Camber generic might be a general end-of-year supply issue. As I noted in the article here: https://adhdrollercoaster.org/adhd-news-and-research/janssen-bombshell-ends-concerta-authorized-generic/
Perhaps you could ask your pharmacy why they couldn’t get it. Or call Camber.
It’s really hard to get useful information based on individual user experience. Everyone’s neurochemistry is different. What is great for one person might be horrible for another. For example, I know people who absolutely cannot tolerate the Camber generic.
You might want to search for “Camber” amidst all the comments on this page.
Sadly, the only reliable option is trial and error. It might be that even a older formulation might work well with your son. e.g. Metadate (now in generic). Unlike Concerta, it has a faster “ramp-up” in the morning. That’s useful for some school children and others who need that profile.
Thank you, Gina! That was my understanding about brand vs. Patriot generic, so thank you for confirming.
I took your advice and called Camber – apparently their version is currently under DEA review, so they haven’t been able to ship any out for months, and there’s no indication when/if they’ll be able to ship it out again.
We just tried Metadate CD with no success. It seemed very similar in effect (for him) to Ritalin LA, which he also did not tolerate. Will keep at it and report back if I learn anything useful.
You’re most welcome. Sorry to hear about the Metadate….. this is all just so sand-pounding frustrating to witness.
But wait….Camber’s generic for Concerta is under DEA review? Is it possible that’s a typo, and it’s under FDA review?
If so, I am VERY much interested in that. It might mean that there still might be hope — to turn around this awful mess created by Trump’s FDA chief.
DEA was definitely what the Camber representative *said*, whether she misspoke or not, I can’t say – it was surprising for me to hear too!
I’m curious if this might be the case for the many other generics on “backorder”. Like others have reported, only the brand is currently available at all the pharmacies I’ve spoke to in my area, and maybe this is why?
Wow, Jess. That’s very strange.
There is a known supply issue, with raw ingredients for stimulants. I mentioned in recent reports on medication availability, including this: https://adhdrollercoaster.org/adhd-news-and-research/janssen-bombshell-ends-concerta-authorized-generic/
The typical end of year shortages (due to arbitrary limits of raw material set by the DEA). The surge in adult ADHD diagnosis since COVID began. So many generic companies fighting for a piece of the MPH pie. The fact that MANY of these generics are made in India, so perhaps COVID-related supply chain issues. It could all be playing a role.
I’m am with you on the camber. I had such a wonderful experience on it and have been trying to find it and I can’t. It says OSM tab which is basically the same as the Eros but not the same :/
Just FYI – there is a significant difference between a standard osmotic delivery system and OROS.
This is so frustrating.
My pharmacy (walgreens) kept telling me ‘its on backorder no need to do anything’ (Patriot authorized generic). Well its been three weeks, and as we know above, its discontinued. I asked them to order brand for me. And reached out to my insurance to start the prior authorization. My insurance doesn’t cover brand Concerta (or Adderall, I know they are different, but seems they don’t cover Brand ADHD meds). First I had to chat with CVS Caremark (not CVS Pharmacy) who were useless. The woman puts through a ‘dummy claim’ for brand and tells me ‘It’s not covered’. Yeah lady…. that’s why I’m calling….. for you to tell me what is needed to get it covered with a prior auth. I finally hung up, she was useless.
Found the form myself (thankfully I’m also a provider, of DME through) so that helped me navigate to what I needed. Filled out what I could, and sent it off to my Dr. to finish, also asking him to update my prescription to Brand Concerta. *rolls eyes*. should take 3-5 days to get approved. But also have the issue there seems to be a shortage of BRAND at the distribution center for my pharmacy.
I also haven’t met my deductible yet. so that’s fun. I downloaded the Savings Card. Has anyone ever used it? I cant really see what specifically it does. I know it can be used with my Insurance. Has anyone used it and what did it save you?
IF the meds actually show up I guess I’ll have to have the person at the pharmacy play around with which option ends up being cheaper.
The Concerta Savings card terms are at the website:
Eligible patients pay an initial $4 per fill at participating retail pharmacies and receive up to $150 off their out-of-pocket prescription costs, with a maximum program benefit of $1,800 or 12 fills per calendar year, whichever comes first.
As it stands, it seems that people whose insurance does not cover brand Concerta at all cannot use this.
I’m hoping we have a lot more clarity, too.
So I may or may not be able to use it.
I am getting a prior authorization for Brand Concerta to be covered under my insurance for this refill, so I wonder if that will make a difference in then allowing me to use the card..
We’ll have to see. I can always take a 30day supply and then see what my insurance allows next year. I also have a way to petition my insurance to include Brand Concerta in their formulary, especially seeing as there is no longer an authorized generic, that gives me a strong case for them to at least offer it as an option, even at a higher tier co-pay.
It looks like they added Vyvanse since last year to their formulary. (I know its a different medication, but that’s a good sign as it doesn’t even have a generic version.) I would be interested in trying it as I have heard good things, but it wasn’t covered so I didn’t bother.
The two classes of medication work very differently in the brain. And within those two classes, the different formulations also work differently by releasing the active ingredients at different rates, etc..
The only way to know is to try it, unfortunately.
As for your “strong case,” I hope it works better than reports from many others. Policies often stipulate that if a suitable generic is available, that’s what you get. With some, generic Ritalin, metadate, and other generics are considered perfectly substitutable.
I have the savings card and it has worked for both myself and my son in the past 2 weeks, and it did save us $150 on each 30 day prescription. We have commercial insurance, I don’t believe it will work (but could be wrong) with government-supported insurance plans such as Medicare, Medicaid (MA), state government plans.
So if our insurance can cover the actual brand or find some way to get the brand name (not authorized generic) product we should be okay?
Just want to confirm Im understanding the article that only the production of the authorized generic made by Janssen subsidiary Patriot will be discontinued. But Janssen will still continue to produce the brand version? (Which will obviously cost us, patients/consumers more $).
Trying to determine how freaked I should be – if we are losing the Alzo OROS delivery system all together or needing to find out a way to get the more expensive brand name/non authorized generic version of the pill.
I started on Concerta ER a couple of months ago and it has been life changing. I went through a whole roller coaster of provider issues and taking Adderall IR in weird doses till the provider stuff got settled ( and dont get me started on supply issues!). Plus I cant take capsules and I think Concerta ER may be the only “tablet” ER out there, but Im not sure. And now this shocking news 🙁
I can only imagine how it feels…to be given something that’s “life changing” and then be told it’s going away.
But know that there are many MPH formulations, and it might be one is good for you — perhaps even better than Concerta. (Though it is really a well-performing choice for many people.)
You ask: So if our insurance can cover the actual brand or find some way to get the brand name (not authorized generic) product we should be okay?
It’s important to understand….the authorized generic IS the brand. It’s made on the same production line, in the same facility. It is indistinguishable from the brand.
It’s only the MARKETING that makes it difference—and the name on the bottle. Patriot (a Janssen subsidiary), not Janssen.
That is, it’s sold as a generic. The brand sold as a generic is called an authorized generic (sometimes a branded generic).
I don’t know what you mean by Concerta ER, though. Concerta is just Concerta. Maybe you are in Canada or UK, where the name is tweaked a bit?
Thank you for response!
Regarding the Concerta ER its just that its an extended release versus immediate release (which is redundant for Concerta)
Trying to find something new (if brand wont work) is a frustrating process that Im not looking forward to because its not a simple process (this isnt a question/issue directed at you Gina just noting as another thing on the list for this whole awful mess). In trying to find a new med it usually takes some time to try it out and that there might a minimum quantity that has to be subscribed (like, you have to get a minimum of 5 not 2 for example). And how soon refills/new fills can be given too. Plus add in availability/shortages and wading through generic vs authorized generic vs brand, and provider vs pharmacy vs insurance. So (i assume) in any medication switch its going to take some time, like months not weeks to find an alternative. And that means a lot of emotional/functioning up and downs over those months as meds are swapped in and out to see what works or not.
And lest I forget, from my own experience, ive seen how ADHD and women’s hormones interact which means sometimes the med you thought worked well when you tried it at the start of the month isnt your top choice by the time you get to the end of the month. You just dont know how its all going to work out (or not) until youve tried it for some time – which means it wont be a quick process to switch.
You are so right, PM. I am extremely mindful of all the factors you mention. Extremely.
And have been for decades. That’s why I cover these issues, as an uncompensated advocate. It’s that important.
That’s also why I am again taking up an effort to get these junk Concerta generics downgraded by the FDA. If you’ve tried one of them to ill effect, you can join the effort! https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm?action=consumer.reporting1
YES to being a woman and the changes with hormones!!!!
Me, being of child bearing age, and on *continuous* birth control (IE: I can ‘skip’ cycles. But eventually my body goes: ‘you’re having this cycle now whether you want it or not’ LOL): I DEFINITELY notice a difference in my medication effectiveness during my ‘cycle week’. Meds become useless, so I’ve lately decided to skip them that week all together (so thankfully I have some *extras* during this shortage).
It seems to be tough getting *ANY* meds right now. A friend of mine also has ADHD. He takes aderall. And he hasn’t been able to get it for about a month already. And we’ve still got all of December.
I guess I’m fortunate to have skipped my ‘cycle’ weeks periodically as well as the occasional ‘day off’. Or when I was super sick a few months back. I probably have a month if ‘backup’ meds.
Not to self; continue that in years to come *just Incase*.
They got me! Well I thought I was in the clear but I just got notice that my insurace will no longer be covering the brand Concerta, only generic (which as Ive now learned from this blog and my research is not really the same/doesn’t exists). So now I have to see what paying out of pocket is or if my provider can have it be covered as a necessity. Or something….
Ps. The reasoning given by the insurance is that this switch saves money. Which makes me wonder if either Janssen is upping the brand price for the insurance or the loss of the authorized generic means the insurance cant balance out the cost for plans that cover the brand brand.
Pps. The real crux of this whole thing is the Alza delivery system- if you can only get that from one manufacturer/medication theres no way anything else can be equivalent – unless its made with that.
Ppps. I cant help but feel this another slight to peoples view of ADHD/mental health medications. I assume if cardiac patients or insulin patients had issues with constantly having to change medications or having medications that made themg feel awful it would not be okay. But since we can all still “function” ,according to these industries, its okay to do this to us.
Sorry to hear you got the rug pulled out from under you. So distressing.
Of course it saves money. It probably even makes money – for the insurers and pharmacies. These generics are made for pennies, often in poorly regulated Indian factories.
Yes, it does feel like a slight to people with ADHD who depend on this medication to function. The recent dust-up about insulin prices is one example.
But the larger issue is the far-left demagogues screaming about “cheaper drugs!” and the GOP gift to Big Generic in 2017.
As usual, the people in the sane middle get out-shouted. And, given that “news” these days is increasingly what social media manipulators tell us it is, there is no coverage.
Only me. One of the few in ADHD world online (and elsewhere) that has rejected all pharma support.
Note that a pharma-backed website that many people seem to think “serves” the ADHD community has said nary a word. Why would they? Wrong pharma.
I hope you find something that works better — and boycott all J&J products. (I’ll post about that soon.)
My pharmacy, Costco in Durham NC, said they had no methylphenidate except brand name Concerta, the generic for Daytrana, and the liquid quillivant. So I was sitting in my doctors office and called to make sure. Yes, they still had quillivant and could also still order it. Doctor electronically sent the Rx, right then. Three hours later I got the “out of stock,” message. They called me and said it would be in again on Friday afternoon. Then yesterday at 5:30 I got the next text that said, “out of stock.” Doctor was about to try Vyvance for me. Is that available? I’m away for the weekend and will deal with it on Monday.
Many things are happening at once.
—COVID-fueled high diagnoses rates and new prescriptions.
—The end of the year always means that we start running short on raw ingredients. The DEA establishes that and has not kept up with the legitimate need for these stimulants.
That’s why I suggested, in my other post, trying the less well-known MPH choices…Quillivant, etc.
Vyvanse is an amphetamine. It’s a different class of stimulants. Response depends on personal neurochemistry.
I was just informed by Patriot that they will no longer be the authorized distributor. As of this past Tuesday.
Not sure how this will impact availability re. an authorized generic but not looking good at least short term.
Thanks again, Tim. I appreciate your sharing that news here.
I just wrote a new blog post.
Well, I thought I had until January to do some research, which I have started, and discuss this with my doctor to choose an alternative to the Concerta authorized generic. But my pharmacy (Costco) is out and can’t get it. They actually have NO methylphenidate except for brand Concerta for $700. Called around and no one else in town has any either. Actually Costco has 10 (5 days worth) and I’m getting them. I guess I’ll save them for important days. I’m also a teacher of children who take methylphenidate. We need to all write the FDA. I’m beside myself. Will have mashed potatoes, chocolate, and ice cream for dinner.
Are you sure…no methylphenidate AT ALL? And Costco can’t order it.
Writing the FDA at this point seems futile. So many companies have exploited this, I can’t see the FDA reversing it.
Elections have consequences, and the White House FDA Chief of 2017 gave us this mess.
I just found this out today as well after I called three different pharmacy chains to see if they had any in stock. Looking for answers and what to do now.
I offer some tips in the post.
Suzanne, I was told the same thing last Friday – all methylphenidate is on back order – all generic brands, all doses. So I’m having the same supply issues all of a sudden and am in a panic. It is not on the FDA’s drug shortage list, but I told my pharmacist to get on the horn and file a report. I also sent an email to the FDA and wrote to my Congressman.
Try the alternates maybe? Including the ones I listed in the post.
I asked again when I picked up my 10 pills. My Costco can get no generic, oral, methylphenidate. They can still order Quillachew and the generic for the transdermal patch. The pharmacist checked a few other places and so did I. I’m in Durham, NC.
Wow, that’s interesting. I guess COVID has pushed raw ingredients past the annual limit allowed by the DEA. Seems they should have gotten the memo.
Might be worth trying Quillachew or the patch.
Question: If Patriot will no longer be the authorized distributor, then how does that affect ordering the Rx authorized generic by the NDC number? Isn’t the NDC number attached to the specific Patriot-authorized generic brand? Or do we continue to order by the NDC number and it will be fulfilled by the next authorized distributor? (Whoever that is… UGHHHH!)
NDC number will no longer matter, come January 13. Janssen is withdrawing the product as an authorized generic.
Patriot is a division of Janssen, Concerta’s manufacturer.
I also spoke to Patriot. Ended. I spoke directly to J complaint department. They told me that the company had received 0 complaints about the tablet.
What type of complaints about the tablet were you expecting Janssen would report?
The only complaint is that the authorized-generic is going away.
I am an RN of 35+ years, have extensive experience in “Utilization Management” which, in lay terms, is “claims Processing.” I have followed this website, associated blogs, and just this August (2022) had my PCP prescribe the authorized generic. Long story but my life was derailed in Jan 2021 when I had to take generic Concerta. I have a Medicare D plan with Highmark (BCBS). Without going into the complexities involving Medicare Plan D, I will describe a suspicion I have in hopes that maybe someone can help or direct me to whom/where I can investigate.
Issue: as soon as the authorized generic was filled (August, September, & now October ) the PRICE [which had been the exact same contracted rate (cost) w/CVS-Highmark from 6/2021 through 8/5/2022], went all over the place w/Oct more than 3 times higher!
Suspicion: CVS entered or submitted authorized generic in some way that allowed for increase amount vs. regular generic?
Question: How/where do I find out if contracted rates (under Medicare D) regs) between pharmacies/health plans can change at anytime without any notice? What could be happening with CVS and/or the Healthplan regarding this?
For anyone who may have to pay a percentage of the “COST,” (which is the contracted rate not -retail cost- w/o coverage) this is like Russian Roulette. I am in a financial crisis and cannot get my medication.
Look on the bright side: At least the authorized-generic is available. That’s huge.
Now, what does that mean in the context of Medicare? I have no idea. I know that one fellow using Medicare recently wrote to me, and he did get it. But I don’t know what kind of plan, supplemental, etc.
When “Big Generic” unleashed these crappy generics, it wreaked havoc with the Concerta “landscape.” It’s been a constantly evolving picture of adjustments. For example, Janssen re-introduced its savings program. (I suspect it doesn’t work with Medicare but don’t know for sure.)
As to your question….I don’t quite understand all the particulars. But I do understand this: I don’t trust CVS farther than I can throw ’em.
But maybe it was the way in which your prescriber specified your Rx? Details matter. That would be the first place I’d investigate.
If you’re not wedded to CVS, I’d try to go elsewhere.
There are more complaints than just availability. I am trying to find the capsule form in either brand or generic. Even if I have to pay the $780 out of pocket for the capsule (I’ll have to buy 1/2–which voids the rest of the rx)
The tablet doesn’t have the same release system. For me, it is useless. I might as well take a pill of flour. I am not the only one. There are multiple complaints from others online (search why concerta stopped working) and several articles. J says there have been no complaints. That cannot be true.
I believe you are confused. If you read this post, you’ll understand that Janssen does not make any of the “true” generics — the ones causing all the problems.
Janssen makes only the brand — and the brand marketed/sold as a generic through marketing deals. Called an “authorized generic.”
So you are complaining to Janssen about another company’s generic.
I have covered this since 2014 — the only person to do so — and got the FDA to downgrade the first two inferior generics.
There’s much to this you are missing. Please read the post for more info.
Interestingly, we seem to have had kind of the opposite problem – my daughter first got prescribed concerta meds in 2020 and was put on a round white (I think) pill that worked Perfectly for her. She didn’t need all day every day, just something to give her a little boost to get her through the school day. Now that pill is apparently no longer AB rated so we can’t get it through the military pharmacy we use, and I naively never wrote down what the exact prescription was, so I’m having trouble seeing if it is still available any other way. Without telling us they simply refilled her meds last time with the 24 hour barrel pills by avkare and they have been Terrible. She can’t get enough sleep and has a stammer now where she repeats words over and over, and when we don’t give them on the weekend she is 3x more adhd than normal. But, she also can’t function in middle school without some sort of adhd med. We are reaching out to her Dr to talk about options since apparently she didn’t know about the switch either (a different dr on the team processed our refill last time), but I don’t know what we are going to do until we get something figured out. Hopefully her teachers will be understanding.
That circular pill might be the Amneal brand. It worked really well for us too, even though it’s not AB rated anymore. I called Amneal and they are manufacturing it again but have not released it to distributors yet – maybe mid-October they said. We switched to Camber and it’s been okay. We also had a terrible experience when the generic brand switched. The government really needs to tighten generic manufacturing regulations and monitoring.
A little history, as you can read about in the post: “The government” was absolutely helpful when I first started looking into this, in 2014 or so. A FDA representative suggested that I open a MedWatch complaint about the first three inferior generics. I did, readers followed through in reporting their adverse experience, and those inferior generics were downgraded by the FDA.
Then Trump and the Republicans took over, appointing an FDA with more ties to industry than to science or regulatory bodies. He pushed through dozens of generics — many of them over the objections of FDA scientists. And that is why we are dealing with this now.
“Government” is us, and who we vote for. :-). Not a “political” post. Just the facts.
Can’t your pharmacy find that order and the manufacturer? It should be on record, somewhere.
I would press your doc and pharmacy to remedy this ASAP, not to wait. The sleep deprivation alone is a huge problem, and one that might linger if she ever gets better Rx.
It might be that even Ritalin LA would be better than what you have. And that would probably be easy to get.
But going forward, if you cannot find the generic you prefer, maybe try the brand/authorized-generic.
Wanted to say thank you for this article and comment section. I referenced it years ago when none of the brick-and-mortar pharmacies in my entire (large) city would order the authorized generic anymore. I ended up switching to an online pharmacy with great success for many years but now they have TWICE sent me the wrong generic even after confirming, in writing twice, that they would only send me patriot pharm’s generic. Beyond frustrated and tired, having had basically zero meds these last two months. I don’t dare take it, last time I took a non-authorized generic I tried it for two weeks and felt like I was losing my mind. I’m going to call Patriot today to not just tell on this pharmacy that is falsely claiming to send their product but also raising as much alarm/advocacy as I can to try to find the right meds.
Good for you!
I hope that online pharmacy has expedited shipment for the correct Rx after those screwups.
Is this a big outfit, like an Express Scripts?
Sadly no, my call with them just led to them confirming that they *cannot* order from patriot because their wholesaler doesn’t supply it. So it looks like I’m starting from scratch all over again. It was with Capsule, who had been great for years without issue. The fact that they didn’t accurately tell me this months ago just adds to the frustration. Looks like I need to do some research on places like express scripts? I was going to take a breath and then call Patriot to see where they are/can recommend. Capsule did spend a lot of time trying to tell me the generic I got is an exact match, which it is not. What a mess!
That’s too bad, Jamie.
My understanding is that Capsule and others like it (e.g. Alto) are not warehouse pharmacies (e.g. Express Scripts). They are Silicon Valley startup-type “disruptors.”
I would go with the established national home-delivery pharmacies — and when I say home-delivery, I mean via UPS or USPS. Not driven by car to your house.
So … not being aware of the changes by the previous ad-monstrous-inistrstion, I allowed Walgreens to fill my 90 day prescription with Camber tablets. They told me that it *is* an osmotic delivery system and the drug fact sheet appears to indicate the same … can you tell me any more about this Camber product? I currently have a tablet soaking in some vinegar to dissolve the medicine so I can look at the “shell,” if one exists.
I had terrible problems with the previous round of generics – the non-osmotic tablets were unusable. I had severe headaches, tremors, and agitation and it was very clearly attributable to the change in medication. Since then, I’ve been vigilant about getting the Patriot product, but when asked this time, I thought I was safe by insisting on the osmotic delivery. Apparently not.
I can’t think of anything more vile than messing with people’s medication – particularly psychotropic medication. Greedy, vile, amoral monsters.
I’m with you on the “monsters.”
When I was first trying to figure out, back in about 2014, what the HECK was going on, I called a pharmaceutical patent attorney.
He said, “These generic companies have exploited a loophole — it’s genius!”
“Genius,” I said, “if you’re a sociopath.” Gah.
As to your question…..
No, your pharmacy is wrong…. osmotic delivery system is a generic system. By contrast, Concerta uses Alza’s sophisticated, expensive, patented osmotic-delivery system, called OROS. Two entirely different things.
I’ve encountered this false claim from many pharmacists, including at the home-delivery warehouses. They have just swallowed whole the line that Camber fed to them.
This is a long article, with lots of details, so maybe you missed my references to the Camber product:
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.
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.)
Some of the new generics use other osmotic technology. As a result, some pharmacists mistake “osmotic technology” for the proprietary OROS™ from Alza.
NOW, it’s possible it might work for you. But if it doesn’t, at least you’ll know why — and not go chasing other rabbits down pointless holes.
I hope this helps
I check your wonderful site (thank you!) a few times a year for updates. I tried probably 9 or so months ago to find a pharmacy that would be able to order the Patriot brand to no avail (probably tried 10 small and chain (CVS, Walgreens etc), so I am currently paying $100 for a 3 month prescription for my son at CVS. $30 per month to have a sane household isn’t a bad deal in my mind, but would still love to save the money. I am in the San Diego area if anyone in soCal or Cal in general has found a Patriot distributor I’d love to hear about it! Thanks!
A few thoughts:
— Have you considered home-delivery? There is typically more choice than with the storefront pharmacies.
— Still…. $100/3 months of brand Concerta is not bad.
— Maybe the situation has changed since 9 months ago. COVID messed with supply chains in ways that are only now starting to get sorted.
— To be clear, you’re not looking for a Patriot distributor. You are looking for the Patriot generic of Concerta. Sometimes word usage matters to pharmacy technicians. “Distributor” means an entirely different thing.
— Did you try submitting a script from your prescriber that states “Patriot generic only”?
— Did you try calling Janssen?
I hope this helps.
Wow, am I understanding correctly that you are paying only $30 per month for BRAND name Concerta?! The only way you may pay less is if your insurance gives you generics (including Patriot) for $10 or $15.
Just by way of comparison, I’m getting the Patriot generic here in Northern VA for $85/month, and thrilled to get that!
Hello Tracey, I echo some others here that $100 for three months is a bargain in my book. I faced a $102 / month bill for 30 until I took the card from the manufacturer to my local Walgreens. Gina recommends it above in No. 4. I got my name-brand Concerta for $4 this month here in Florida- wow this was a godsend since I am losing my job and I want to get another one which Concerta will help 🙂 BTW: local Walgreens pharmacist said that they tried to go nationwide to get alza patriot and they could not find it anywhere – they took an extra week to call for me and checked in twice to let me know they were still working it – so I don’t know what is happening elsewhere but I believe they really tried this time.
Hi Sue, Yay! The card worked for you!! $4. Wow. I’m so happy to know it worked for you!
Ann at Walgreen Community has been very helpful. I believe they are even able to overnight deliver the medication, though I’ve never done that. They have been incredibly accommodating!
Walgreen Community Pharmacy on 1487 E Chevy Chase Dr
Glendale, CA 91206
+1 (818) 638-0135
Trying to reply to Jill….
Yes, I’ve seen GoodRx prices close to that for 30 pills. However, my son’s dosage is 72 mgs, so he needs 2 of the 36 mg. pills each day, which is 60 pills per month, so double the cost. Sure wish they made a 72 mg. tablet!
Also, just FYI, I’m not the same “Ann” who asked about updates on July 12th. I have added my last name initial just to differentiate us.
Hi Ann W.
And a 70 mg tablet is not quite enough?
Is there a date which shows when this was last updated? I don’t see one.
I keep apprised of the situation and update as needed.
You can always check the most recent comments, too.
As far as I know, nothing has changed.
I was reading about your comment about Patriot Concerta. Have you tried RX Gold? My insurance is terrible but with RX Gold I pay $34 for Patriot Concerta.
Thanks for that tip! I see that it’s part of the GoodRx program.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to reply to the proper person.
Anyway, Gina, I’m not sure why you mentioned a 70 mg tablet. As I’m sure you must know, Concerta (and the Patriot Authorized Generic) comes only in four tablet sizes…. 18mg, 27 mg, 36 mg, and 54 mg. Or did they add a new size recently that I’m unaware of?
Hi Ann W,
argh! Sorry. I am too tired. :-0. In the middle of preparing Course 2, on sleep and medication, and I was explaining how amphetamines work. Had Vyvanse on my mind!
I take 54mg in the am and 18mg in the afternoon. Each around $32-$34. Less than the $90 I was paying.
Best of luck.
No worries Gina. 🙂 Knowing how busy you are, I figured it must be something like that. Hope you can catch some good zzzz’s tonight!
– Ann W.
Thank you! I get ZZZZs. If I didn’t over the years of this course creation (on SLEEP and medication), I’d be dead by now. 🙂
Great and helpful article. This really is a clown show, and yes, the national corporate chain pharmacies (that’s you, CVS) are not here to help. Thank you – I hope I can get back to where I need to in terms of the medication that has done so much for me over the last ten years, without having to take out a second mortgage.
I hope so, too, Ronald!
When I learned of this several years ago, I knew no good would come of it.
Thank you, first, for the resources.
I am having trouble with my insurance, which is gov. insurance, approving the brand. They don’t want to approve it until I’ve tried (and not tolerated) the generics.
This is upsetting, but, I’ll do what it takes and try what I can get. So far I have been prescribed the Camber generic, and will be starting it soon. However, I’m trying to see if I can access the Patriot authorized generic.
I explained to my Psychiatrist and the pharmacists alike, but they are all clueless and confused about the topic. I contacted Patriot at 215-325-7676 and from my experience it just ended up directing me to leave a message for them to get back to me. Is this new, or is there something I missed with navigating the phone tree to speak to someone directly?
My goal is to at least speak with someone there to see if they would work with my local pharmacy to get Patriot in there.
Just remember….your insurance does NOT need to approve the brand.
All you need is to have the MD specify “Patriot generic only”.
I realize it’s not always so easy. Just to clarify on that point.
Forward your psychiatrist this article.
I’ve given up on big-box retail pharmacists. They are complicit.
You might have to try Patriot a few more times. No doubt they’re busy and understaffed.
Hi there! Thanks for this post. I usually take the 36 mg from Patriot, but I recently moved to a new area and I got my prescription filled at Walgreen’s as usual but they gave me the Trigen pills instead! I talked to my doctor about it and he said that it was likely all in my head and there are virtually no differences between the Patriot and Trigen pills, so I am very grateful to this post for explaining and clearly validating my negative experience with Trigen.
Luckily I’ve been able to get mostly back to Patriot, but for my last prescription they gave me pills from Dr. Reddy’s Labs. They look identical in shape to the Patriot 36 mg pills except these are red and say RDY 36 on them. So far they have been affecting me pretty similarly to Patriot except I can feel the effects of these pills waning slightly earlier than Patriot’s. I can hardly see any valuable information about these pills online so I was just wondering if you’ve encountered these yet and if you have any thoughts on these? There’s a chance these may be a viable alternative to Patriot, for me at least.
Good grief……is your doctor stuck in the 1950s? Where doctors were Gods and women were “nervous” and “hysterical”?
That is appalling.
Trump unleashed a boatload of inferior generics for Concerta. It’s impossible to keep track of them all.
Since learning about Rx manufacturing processes in India and elsewhere, I’m cautious. Another Indian generic company, Aurabindo, has been called on the carpet by the FDA for all kinds of infractions.
I don’t see problems with Dr. Reddy on the same level as Aurabindo, but there’s this:
The issue with these overseas manufacturers is that they are “approved” by visiting FDA officials. That means they can quickly put up window dressing, etc…
My blog post on that topic is based on the book “Bottle of Lies”:
So, Elena, I don’t know what to tell you. If that generic is working for you, and it’s impossible to get the Patriot-Janssen at an affordable price, that’s your call.
I’m sure it uses nothing like Concerta’s sophisticated delivery system. None of these inferior generics do. That was the point…..they could exploit the “ADHD market” and make high profit on simple pills. Cheap ones.
Has Actavis been approved as an Authorized Generic”? My insurance states that my Concerta is only to be filled with an Authorized Generic.
They had been using Patriot until my last time I got my prescriptions filled.
I’m really confused. I also could tell a difference between the two.
No, Actavis does not have an authorized generic.
It’s not something that is “approved.” Authorized generics ARE THE BRAND. They are just marketed as a generic (for various business reasons).
Are you sure your insurance states that “my Concerta is only to be filled with an Authorized Generic?”
Are you sure it’s not simply generic?
It sounds like you lucked out in getting the Patriot Authorized Generic. Now you might have to make more of an effort — getting your MD to specify that on the script.
This post provides all the details.
I called the number above for Janssen and the person in speaking with is very confused and has no idea what patriot pharm is, even after I explained it to her. Somehow I’ve been routed to a Johnson and Johnson savings program help line. Does anyone have any advice for making the phone calls successfully?
Katie, what are you looking for? The authorized-generic?
Did you call the number for PATRIOT in the post?
I can’t access that now so cannot provide it.
Sounds like you hit the wrong options in the menu. Yes the Jensen number will bring you to J&J. Every time I have called they have known what I was talking about. But listen to the menu and just choose customer service. NOT the savings card.
They have always taken my information and filled out a ‘case’ with reference number and sent that on to the woman who handles this at patriot.
I’ve tried the direct number a bunch of times and left messages. The only way I have been called back is through the Jensen number however.
Thanks for clarifying that for Katie, Jackie.
I had an appointment with my doctor yesterday and she sent in my prescriptions specifically for Patriot (no substitutions/medically necessary.
My pharmacy sent me a text saying that it will be ready on Monday.
Thank you for your help, hard work and dedication.
Victory! Good job, Jill!
I appreciate your noticing my work. 🙂
Oh God thank you. I have been off my meds since November. I was taking one generic manufactured by alvogen that seemed to agree with me and then one day I picked up my prescription and it was different. HORRIBLE. I spoke with multiple pharmacists before one would tell me the manufacturer of that pill, Lanett co.
I called my drs office and explained the issue and they said they would figure something out and never got back to me so I made an appointment and went in and my doctor told me that I wants taking a generic before. He said I was taking name brand. I said no and he asked me to describe the pill. He says yup that’s concerta. Ok… Maybe I was?
He submitted the prescription as name brand only and before I even got home the pharmacy called and said we will fill this but just know it’s gonna cost $500…
Ok so I DEFINITELY was never taking the name brand.
I’ve been calling around pharmacies and back and forth with my doctor trying to track down the alvogen with no luck.
They just switched my prescription to a pharmacy that carries camber and I’m nervous to try it.
I’ll try calling patriot tomorrow and see if I can find a pharmacy near me.
This has been a nightmare and no one that should be able to answer my questions has been able to so far. Thank you for this.
I’m glad you finally found me!
It’s true…plenty of MDs and pharmacists don’t know the difference. They will “gaslight” us until the cows come home. Is it gaslighting, though, when they are truly clueless? Or are they clueless because they are lazy, don’t care, or …..
I have higher standards. Because I know too well what your experience has been.
In future, you can just look on the bottle. It should have said “Lannett”.
Camber is another generic. They deceptively made it look more like Concerta.
I find it sick and greedy and hope they rot beneath their stacks of ill-gotten money.
Hey there, any luck reaching out to Patriot/Jensen and if so, what was your process/what number(s) did you call? I’ve tried calling Jensen with no luck (they don’t seem to know what I’m talking about) and when I call Patriot it only allows me to leave a message.
Looks like you have to leave a message. Perhaps they are short-staffed….who knows.
Just call that number in the article. That’s it.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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?
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.
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.
I’m glad my advice worked, Patty. Good for you!
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?
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.
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!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks for the reminder, Jaclyn.
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
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.
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……..do 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.
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.
You’re right, thank you for the clarification. Big Generic is indeed the only winner here.
(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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Yes, CVS typically has not been a great bet.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Thank you for the advice everyone.
Regarding my switch to Adderall last month – it has been great for my waistline – I am not hungry at all. But with three hours of focus, it doesn’t do much for my ability to work.
I am almost at the point where I go back to my meditation three times a day and aromatherapy et al. I do much of that anyway but it is so difficult when I know that the Methylphenidate Alza formulation was working for me. The only thing I did notice was that I had terrible cravings for food especially carbohydrates and I read somewhere that this can happen so I did gain a lot of weight the last couple of years.
Has anyone else had this issue? My doctor told me that it should have made me lose weight not gain – indicating that I was imagining things but… I don’t think so since I find I have those cravings as I come down off the methylphenidate in the evening even when I don’t take the ER ( I also have been given the 10 mg tablets) and otherwise I don’t usually eat at night.
BTW: regarding Vyvanse – I was on that in 2020 when this happened before with the camber junk and it worked so great until week 2 when I got headaches and found my blood pressure shot up to 139/180 so I do not want to repeat that 🙁 unless it was a fluke – at this point, I am almost willing to risk it…
Unfortunately, most prescribers don’t understand much of the complexity around ADHD.
Could be many potential things happening here. I doubt you’re imagining things.
Some people actually GAIN weight on a stimulant. Why? Because, for the first time in their lives, they can TASTE food and can focus on enjoying eating! That’s just one potential explanation.
As for why you are craving crabs — if I’m reading this correctly, you’re craving them when the methylphenidate WORE OFF — could be a self-medicating attempt to get back that focus.
Vyvanse and Concerta are entirely different drugs. There’s no reason to think you could substitute Vyvanse for Concerta, especially when you had that bad reaction the first time. Maybe a “fluke” if you were also consuming caffeine, for example, or maybe it amped up anxiety. Amphetamines can do that sometimes.
You have MANY choices beyond meditation and aromatherapy. Look into some of the other methylphenidate products.
You mentioned Vyvanse in your Feb. 8th response to Suzanne. Since that is in the Amphetamine class of meds, just as Adderall is, does that mean that it is Adderall ONLY (vs. ALL the other Amphetamine based stimulants) that you are warning about? Curious to hear what your opinion of Vyvanse is.
Vyvannse is dexedrine in an extended-release delivery system.
Adderall is mixed amphetamine salts — dexedrine PLUS.
So they are both in the amphetamine class but very different.
Talk to your prescriber about alternatives for your ADD medication. Adhansia has a coupon for $15 per 60 pills and it is very similar to Concerta.
I can get a few hours (if that’s all I need) from Dexedrine, which is usually pretty affordable.
Vyvanse is my daughter’s and my favorite ADD medication. Best for longest focus for us. Unfortunately it is not off patent yet, so it is too costly for us at $275 per month (each) with the coupon. Your plan may be better. Or you could qualify for assistance from the manufacturer.
I think there is a big difference in Adderall vs Ritalin type meds, but I’m not a doctor, which is why you should discuss with yours.
If readers could always “talk to their doctor,” I wouldn’t have to answer so many questions — and educate about medications in my first book. 🙂
There is a huge difference between Adderall and Ritalin and other MPH drugs. There is also a difference between Adderall and other amphetamine drugs.
I started taking Concerta in 2006, it changed my life. Concerta opened a door I didn’t know was there. I was able work and be productive in a more efficient way.
At the time I was only able to get Concerta from a private psychiatrist because Kaiser didn’t want to prescribe Concerta or agree with the diagnosis, but finally did convince Kaiser Perm. to prescribe in 2007 because it was that crucial for me to hold a job. I was able to work steadily and successfully until 2014 when I told my doctor I was getting a divorce.
He immediately prescribed Wellbutrin in conjunction with the Concerta. I specifically told him I was not depressed and did not want to take antidepressants. I explained I turned into a sofa zombie for a year and 1/2 back in 2003 and it almost ruined my life. He said your getting a divorce you need to take Wellbutrin. Like an idiot I started taking that, what a disaster and my entire personality changed. I couldn’t protect myself, lost friends and couldn’t see the big picture. I winged off the Wellbutrin and got back to normal around 2017 and was able to make money again.
In 2020 I lost my Kaiser insurance and was without Concerta for about three months. I struggled to be productive and efficient. I found a private practice that would prescribe Concerta which cost $185.00 for 15 minute zoom call every three months plus $320.00 for only 90 tabs of Concerta.
In mid 2021, went back to Kaiser Perm. with affordable Care Act super happy and grateful $67.00 verses $900.00 in 2020. My October 2021 Concerta refill was not working and I was sleep a lot. I’ve been having difficulty doing everything and contacted doctor to complain about the Camber 214 pills that don’t work. I requested Patriot and I was told Kaiser doesn’t stock it. I told them I’m worthless and can’t function so they prescribed Adderal which I don’t want, but if it’s better than Camber 214 , I’ll take it.
Again, another generic Pascol, version of adderal. I’m doing a little better, but don’t know how long I can last financially if I can only work 3 hours before being tired again. I need to make some phone calls and figure out how I’m going to get the real Concerta. I’m glad I found your blog because providers don’t listen or understand how important this medication is for people who live with these issues.
I’m horrified at your story. I wish it was rare. It’s not.
KP has been a DISASTER for so many adults with ADHD. There’s a reason they are constantly being fined millions of dollars for their deficient mental-health options.
I assume you live in California? That means, unfortunately, that you cannot access the savings program https://www.concerta.net/coupon.html
The next step might be to try one of the MANY other methylphenidate options — Aptensio XR, Quillivant XR, Quillichew RX. I think there are others.
These are newer products so they often have savings programs, too. Just check their websites. Typically the product name plus .com
I don’t know if Kaiser will work with you on this. It might be that you’ll have to go outside Kaiser.
I am extremely apprehensive about these virtual “ADHD clinics” that are popping up. I suspect they are little more than Adderall mills. But if you can find one that’s decent, maybe that’s a better way to get the Rx you need to function in life. It will cost something but maybe not as much as you paid with the private practice and paying out of pocket for Concerta? You’d want to check out their Rx choices on the front end, of course.
Best of luck to you. You deserve so much better. <3
thank you for sharing. This is my life. Been on Adderall for one month now I get about one hour really good focus three hours at the outside and then I’m awake the rest of the day because it makes keeps me awake. As you say it’s better than nothing and definitely better than that Camber stuff that made me so unpredictable and I’m still trying to catch up from how far I got behind last fall. Hope it works out better for you.
There are many more choices beyond Adderall and Camber Concerta.
Genetically, some people do better on one class than the other. Adderall is generally not a substitute for people who do well on Concerta. Just the opposite.
There are other MPH choices, and there is also Vyvanse.
Question. What are some of the issues y’all experience with the sub par generics?
As I’ve said before I’ve been off meds for about a decade. Prior to that I was on name brand Concerta (as generics didn’t exist back then, or they kept me on the name brand as I had been on it so long). Anyway.
I’ve been on one of the ‘crap’ generics for about a week now. Trigen.
I was pretty well self managed off meds for 10 years. Or thought I was with certain parts of my life. But was failing miserably with others. Hence the start of treatment again.
Y’all. The parts I was managing before, are SO BAD now. I’m forgetting STUPID things. Like I was making a dip, some cream cheese fell on the floor. I grabbed a towel to clean it. Put the dip in the microwave. Proceeded to clean the front of the microwave. Tend to my plants. Stir dip and continue microwaving. Load dishwasher. BEFORE I realized I still didn’t clean up the cream cheese. And had stepped in it twice.
Putting papers in the wrong spot and unable to remember them. And like WEIRD places.
Completely forgetting things that have happened. Like why the dogs leashes are in a different spot, when I SWORE I took them off after their walk. But apparently my s/o did.
Whatever others experience on the Concerta generics might have little to do with what you experience.
From the examples you provide, sounds like that Trigen generic is messing with you!
It’s a long shot but, is it possible that you were doing these things before but only noticing them now that you’re back on RX?
I considered that. But I have NEVER not cleaned up something that spilled right away. Like ever.
Pre this med, I would put the dip in the microwave and while that was cooking I would use that time to clean the mess.
Yes, Jackie. I figured as much. As I said, a long shot. 🙂
The erratic delivery of that generic might be worse than no Rx for you.
It’s entirely possible. They certainly have affected readers in various negative ways.
Hi there, thank you for this helpful post. We seem to be in the minority – my child cannot take any version of Concerta with the Oros technology because he has a separate medical condition that is contraindicated with Oros.
Instead, we have been depending on one manufacturer – Amneal – for a true “generic” that doesn’t have the technology. It’s the only one that works for him and now that manufacturer is on back order. He was given Actavis once and it was hell for 48 hours almost like he wasn’t taking the drug at all. So I agree with your point #1 above – AVOID ACTAVIS (now Teva)! I was hoping someone could recommend another manufacturer for the generic that we could try. Someone mentioned Camber worked for them? Other options from our pharmacist include SpecGx and Lannett…it’s so upsetting that we can’t trust companies to make quality drugs…
Hi ADHD Mom,
Oh boy, that sounds like an even trickier situation to navigate.
I wish I had some great advice for you.
Yes, “Big Generic”…at least a few bad actors…have cynically exploited bioequivalence guidelines for their profit. And, not being political just factual, Trump’s appointed American Enterprise Foundation FDA chief had nothing but disdain for FDA scientists’ concerns.
When the Concerta generic mess first started, back in about 2014, I was trying to figure out…what is happening here?
I called a pharmaceutical patent attorney, to see if he could explain how it was legal. He explained how Mallinckrodt and Kremers-Urban had “brilliantly” exploited the loopholes.
I felt my blood run cold. “Brilliant? If you’re a sociopath.”
Thank you so much for this article and blog. I’ve been taking Concerta or authorized generic for 10+ years and seem to have issues every time insurance changes or pharmacies begin to have issues ordering the Patriot brand. Last year I had luck with my insurance plan plus the Concerta Brand coupon to get brand Concerta for about $60/30 days. Insurance changed this year and now brand Concerta with the coupon is upwards of $200/30 days… so generic Concerta it is! Called my local CVS (located in the Midwest) and had my doctor write the script as you described and to my surprise they apparently have the Patriot Brand on special order, arriving Monday or Tuesday. Per my insurance, it should be only $90/90 days for the generic. I’ll believe it when I see it but I’m staying hopeful. Based on what I’ve read on here, it sounds like this would be one of the only success stories at CVS. Fingers crossed! Thanks again! I look forward to the day where we can just order “Generic Concerta” and it won’t be automatically filled with some subpar substitute. May never happen but it’s reassuring seeing people like you fighting for us.
Congratulations! I bet it works!
So much depends on location, pharmacy benefit manager, insurance limitations, and a few other things.
Our prescription woes are a sign of the times. One of my meds was a nice tiny pill. The next generic was bigger and bitter. The next one was huge and extremely bitter. The pharmacy only filled for 30 days when my Rx was for 90. Another pharmacy lost all my refills when transferring. Last two coupons I tried were rejected. Got on three-way phone with Adhnasia (a good alternative to Concerta for $15 for a supply of 60 pills) call to straighten it out. It’s like pulling teeth to get a break on the cost of prescription medicine. I pay $900/mo for the crappiest bronze plan with an $8,550 deductible. 95% of the time I have the meds redone under the GoodRx card, giving me a better price than my healthcare plan – that’s crazy. And lately they don’t have anything I need in stock. I’m tempted to try the new Mark Cuban mail order prescription service but they have no ADHD medication.
The only luck I’ve had is with independent pharmacies. The one I use is able to order Patriot for me and they put it through CVS Caremark which pays the generic benefit. I talked to the lovely owner of the pharmacy giving her my great thanks and my concern she might be losing money. She said she was not. It is still a pain every month procuring it correctly each time. It’s for my 19 yr old daughter and like one of you said, the process each time is too much for her to deal with. Call doctor. Make sure they send this script only to pharmacy A. Call pharmacy A to make sure they filled it. Then ask them to check if they filled it with Patriot which they usually don’t (they don’t note their own notes) and every other time they have to reorder. No way my ADHD daughter can do all that so she chooses to not take the meds some days to stretch it out. Then of course, meltdowns happen and she’s very hard to deal with.
Katherine, I am a prescriber of Concerta. Many of my patients have found that some of the bigger pharmacies are willing to order Patriot generics; that seems to vary by pharmacist, not the chain. I’m sure it takes some extra work by the pharmacist but they do not appear to be limited by contract on which generics they can use. Safeway and Fred Meyer are the most agreeable here in the Pacific NW. Rite-aid pharmacies can/may be able to order it if specific wording is used on the RX; the contact person at Patriot said she had spoken to RiteAid corporate office and was told to use this wording – “PATRIOT GENERIC IF POSSIBLE; PLEASE FILE EXCEPTION AND ORDER DIRECTLY FROM PATRIOT IF NECESSARY”.
Whether any of this works is anyone’s guess, the rules change often. Good luck!
Thanks for the field report!
I hope all is well with you.
JACKIE, I have blueshield and they are contracted with cvs Caremark. You can go to any pharmacy you like, also to get the authorized generic follow what the post say to ur doctor ask them to send in script with patriot brand only and that did the trick for me at Walgreens in California.
Thanks for helping Jackie, Robie.
It’s so hard to keep up with this rapidly changing landscape. A few weeks ago, readers reported that Walgreen’s would no longer fill these prescriptions. But I’m sure much depends on the region and the insurance policy parameters.
The agreements insurers make with pharmacy benefit managers (e.g. CVS Caremark) vary a lot among the different policies.
Cheaper policies will have less choice, for example.
Well now I’m all worried as I just found this AFTER I got my new prescription filled.
I was taking Concerta (or the AZLA one) as a child through college. That was 10 years ago.
I’m just getting back on meds. My insurance (through CVS Caremark) doesn’t cover Concerta. So I got a generic.
Obv it looks different, so I googled the writing on the pill (TL 707). And what got me on a hyperfocus rabbit hole was that the drug facts said ‘24hr’. Concerta is 12hr correct? Thanks google.
So how was I given a 24hr when the name brand is 12hr!?
Of course I already paid and picked it up. I was having to call my insurance anyway tomorrow because I don’t think they processed it right, but now I’m worried I paid for something that I might have an issue with and didn’t know because ‘generic is the same’. But the release is the important part of Concerta.
I’m also going to call the pharmacy because if they gave me a 24hr for a 12hr that can’t be allowed???
I’m going to be stuck with these until my next evaluation in Feb (where they might change my dosage). Maybe it’ll work fine. But if it doesn’t I’m going to be pissed. And of course even taking this is freaking out my anxiety. Like I’m going to have to wait till a day off to try it because I can’t have it mess up my work.
You might want to subscribe to my blog. Subscribers learned about this years ago. 🙂
Googling this is likely to bring you down MANY rabbit holes. For example, there is no 24 hour Concerta.
Everything you need to know is in the post.
What you have is the Trigen generic.
That’s what I thought.
However this says that brand is 24hr.
And I’m still worried about the release speed. I’ll have to wait and take it this weekend when I’m not at work incase it causes any problems.
There are all kinds of junk websites claiming to offer information about medications. One makes an error, and the rest that copy it make the same error.
There is no such thing as a 24-hour generic Concerta…..or anything else.
It’s best to consult reputable sites, such as this DailyMed function of the U.S. NIH.
I know everyone reacts differently, but I thought Trigen was the most inferior of the Concerta generics. It barely affected me and was useless. I filled out an FDA report and was called by then and discussed how it didn’t work for me. I stopped using CVS because that’s all they dispensed at the time.
It’s not a case of everyone reacts differently. The Concerta issue is that the generics do not perform as Concerta performs.
For some people, who don’t do well on brand Concerta, this might be a good thing. But in general, this is a bad thing.
Yes, the Trigen was one of the original three offenders. You and many other ADHD Roller Coaster readers who had poor results followed the call when I asked you to file a FDA MedWatch complaint.
We succeeded! The FDA agreed! The FDA downgraded those three generics as not substitutable for brand.
Yes, bad actors such as CVS continued to substitute it, illegally.
Then Obama left the White House and Trump came in. He appointed an American Enterprise Fellow as FDA Chief, not a respected medical figure as is traditionally done. New FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb ignored FDA scientists concerns about bioequivalence pushed through dozens (if not hundreds) of generics. That included several Concerta generics. Last I checked, there were 15.
Oomph. I took it for the first time today and honestly I don’t Really feel anything… I’ve been I medicated for approx 8-10 years. So I should feel *something*.
You’re saying different pharmacy’s will bring in different generic forms? Like CVS vs Walgreens?
My insurance is a local private insurance but prescriptions are CVS Caremark. But I don’t think that means I *have* to go through CVS pharmacy. However when I called CVS Caremark (to make sure claim was processing correctly) they said they could only pull up the Trigen in their system.
Jackie, pharmacies have different distribution agreements. Some might have access to the authorized generic while others push one of the inferior ones. Profits.
To understand more, please read the post.
I read the entire post before commenting in the first place.
The problem is how to even get through to these people. I was on the phone with CVS Caremark insurance for an hour.
They can’t even look up meds by NDC to tell me if it’s covered. It ONLY shows them the Trigen in their system. And to ‘talk to my doctor’. What difference will my doctor make if the insurance can’t even pull up an NDC?
I don’t know what to tell you, Jackie. CVS Caremark tends to be the worst actor.
When CVS was allowed to buy Aetna a few years ago, it marked an unprecedented merger and a huge conflict of interest.
It is now the 800-pound gorilla.
Perhaps look into one of the other methylphenidate products.
I’ve had good luck in the past by asking to talk to one of their pharmacists when calling ExpressScripts or Caremark about getting the authorized generic. They will have more access to look up the NDC info and understanding of the mechanisms involved.
Thanks, Patrick. Yes, asking to speak to a pharmacist or pharmacy technician is a good idea.
Except in the case of CVS Caremark….when I spoke to a high-level pharmacist, he tried to convince me that the Trigen generic was exactly the same as Concerta because it used the same osmotic release system. Which of course it doesn’t! He wasn’t interested in learning that he might be wrong, either.
Well I’m day one on these meds. I can always give them a fair shake and see what happens. Right now I don’t see any affect.
What really bothers me about this whole thing is that its medications for ADHD. We already usually have the executive dysfunction making starting this hard in the first place. But then add in RSD (which I definitely have) and that makes asking even harder for fear of the turndown. So it makes it extra hard because we need these things to help us do what we need to do to get the thing we need. Its a circle.
Like I cant do the process to get the right meds without having the help from the correct meds. lol
I’ll start with giving this a fair shake, though my hopes aren’t high. Then up dosage as directed. If it doesn’t change help with the higher dosage quickly, then tackle making sure I get the right stuff. And work with my doctor on that. There’s LOTS of pharmacies in the area. And ALL take my insurance as its the local large insurance.
I’ll stay privy to this post and reach out if I need more help. I see there’s a number for calling Patriot, so I’ll use that resource if needed as well.
Yes, it bothers me, too. That’s why I took up the mission to get these inferior generics downgraded.
Unfortunately, elections have consequences. Lots of them.
I had a good experience to share with the list in case it helps others. After calling the pharmacies I usually use to get my child’s Patriot prescription and coming up dry, I called Patriot Pharmaceuticals directly at 800-631-5273. A person answered the phone and took my name, phone number and email address and said she would pass it on. The next day Pat, a lovely person from Johnson and Johnson, called me back. She told me all of the pharmacies in my area that have or can get the Patriot product. She even called the regional Harris Teeter manager on my behalf. That hasn’t flowed down to the local stores yet, sadly, BUT I was able to have the prescription filled at one of the independent pharmacies she mentioned. She also said it was okay for me to post about my experience on this site. Good luck!
Thanks so much for the update. It seems that perhaps COVID-related issues made it harder to get through for a while.
I’m glad to know the help line is back in action!
Pat is great! She did the same for me. Called the pharmacy manager at Publix headquarters and I am able to get the Patriot generic with no problems. It’s wonderful when you can find someone who actually does their job and cares about their customers.
If you can get the Patriot anywhere and at a decent price, you are very fortunate. After leaving Walgreens for their incompetence, now my Publix Pharmacy messes everything up. Gave me inferior Concerta generics and won’t order Patriot. They messed up a Vyvanse coupon worth four x 30 pill free fills. And they messed up an Adhansia coupon good for 60 quantity at $15. At least Adhansia later got me on a three way call with the clerk who messed me up and made her fix it! Now I have a great alternative to Concerta for a lot less money. Good luck everyone!
I have definitely suggested that possibility: If possible, use inability to obtain Concerta to try another medication, especially among the ones that offer savings coupons.
You might luck out. Or might not. It might be worth a shot, though.
Unfortunately the coupon doesn’t work if you are a senior with Medicare insurance. I’ve been using the GoodRx coupon though. Saves me about 50%. Also Publix pharmacy carries the Patriot generic if you ask for it.
Thanks, Fred and Lisa, for lending support.
I will no longer at least for this year have to jump through hoops to get my medication. This year my employer switched health insurances from Blue Cross to United Healthcare, and apparently United only covers the brand name of Concerta, so I will be on the brand name early next week. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t know they covered the brand name. It’s been years since my employer has been with United, and before the last switch to Blue Cross, which I think was in 2018, I had been on the brand name of Concerta. I will be paying $35 for the medication (brand name) due to my insurance copay. YAY!
It’s like winning the lottery! Congrats! 🙂
Our insurance is this way as well. Make sure to check out the Jansen coupon program. It covers up to $150 of what your insurance doesn’t (as long as you aren’t in an eliminated state). You’ll pay $4 as long as you qualify. https://www.concerta.net/coupon.html
Thanks for the reminder, Deborah. It’s in the post, but so are many other details. 🙂
I agree Deborah and Aaron. CVS Caremark did this for my daughter’s prescription all of 2021. Provided the brand and I used the coupon. I held my breath all year . I was told it would be the same this year. I agree it’s like winning the lottery Gina.
Really?!?! My employer just made the same switch! Hooray! There may be ONE good thing about UHC. But, in all mid- fight over my other meds getting covered at all.
I’m thinking that Concerta manufacturer Janssen is really fighting back against this slew of cheap (in quality, not in price) generics.
I’ve been posting comments here back since 2016 and do not enjoy this roller coaster. Earlier this year, I thought my Kroger had finally figured out how to get around Cardinal Health (their supplier) sneakily substituting a different generic despite specifying Patriot and NDC number. So grateful that I still make them open the bottle every time I go to pick up, bc last month, they initially filled it with regular generics (even though there’s a notation on our file that we only want Patriot). Ultimately, I had to accept only 23 pills of the Patriot bc that’s all they had left and the pharmacist said that she really wasn’t allowed anymore to make special orders for me.
The previous year 2020, my pediatrician (who is so supportive) wrote prescriptions for the brand name Concerta only, but then the new year our insurance evidently made a new rule that even a doctor’s note couldn’t override it and the brand wouldn’t be covered. Not looking forward to finding out what insurance changes take place for next January. I am so so tired of having to fight every month over this.
I hear you. It’s an ongoing pain in the rear.
On the one hand, we’re fortunate to have had the authorized-generic for as long as we have had it.
On the other hand, Trump’s FDA chief’s decisions mean that the generics we are forced to accept are in no way “bio equivalent” to the brand’s complex delivery system.
Elections have consequences.
So glad I found this article. I always check my meds – my doctor and i realized that the non-alza was actually making me fatigued and totally unfocused and feeling general malaise last year so I insisted on alza and it was like majic i was myself again. When I went in tonight and already left the counter i realized it was not the correct formula but that cambor you are all referring to. I returned to the counter of course to discover “oh well” “too bad” can’t return and then to be told “well you know this is what we gave you last month too” – my hubby picked up that script and i have been feeling very very ill since october – i have been blaming myself that i was lazy and needed to just wake up and get to work – but i literally was falling alseep in my chair every day, in tears most days and so many other symptoms. tonight – I called every pharmacy within in 25 miles including little independent ones – and my insurance – no one has patriot and I was told “well cambor is the preferred everyone is clamoring for it so no one is ordering patriot now, sorry cant get it” I read that someone else was experiencing anxiety now with the other – yes yes! I have been having almost daily panic attacks and I cannot control them – I never had anything like this before so I going to stop taking it altogether – I am thinking that this cambor stuff is actually exacerbating my condition. I have only just found your site but I am so thankful that you are doing this research – I had to report one of the genrics in 2016 to the FDA because it caused a psychotic break that caused me to be on suicide watch for 24 hours – this is serious stuff and to mess with peoples medication is seriously dangerous,
Hi Suzanne, I’m glad you found answers here.
Everything here makes sense. I was just given a different generic without the OROS. I’ve been having bad anxiety again! Feel like I’m spiraling back. I can’t deal with this. I need my correct form of medicine!! An actual generic equivalent to concerta.
How clever of you to find my blog post! 🙂
Be sure to note this to your MD, including the specific generic. This might help you make your case to your insurance company when your prescriber specifies “Patriot only” on your next prescription.
this does not work anymore. “not in service” 215-325-7676. Trying to get my pharamacy to order the correct generic
Thanks for alerting me. I’ll make a note in the article.
It shouldn’t be necessary for your pharmacy to contact Patriot in order to order it, though.
If you live in the southeast states you can get your authorized generic for Concerta at Publix pharmacy. Tell the pharmacy manager that you need a prescription exception to get the Patriot generic. If you have trouble then contact Pam at Patriot and she will get it fixed.
Called two Costco pharmacy today. They both said they have stopped selling the Patriot brand authorized generic. Costco website still claims they sell authorized generic. Anyone able to get it filled from Costco in last few weeks?
You can still get it at Costco if you are a member but they will not honor the discount drug card prices like Good Rx or any copay prices through your health insurance. The price is listed as $104 for a 30 day supply on the Costco website. The Good Rx price for generic Concerts I have found is $30-40 but of course that is not the Patriot price since I can’t find it anywhere.
I checked my local Costco today and they did not have it. However, I was able to find it at a local Harris Teeter pharmacy (a Kroger company).