Janssen Quietly Ends Concerta Authorized-Generic

Janssen Ends Concerta Authorized-Generic

Concerta manufacturer Janssen officially ended availability of its authorized-generic  mid-January 2023, through its Patriot subsidiary. (What’s more, some evidence points to Janssen phasing out Concerta brand entirely this year, 2023. Stay tuned.)

Shocking, I know. Concerta users accustomed to paying generic prices, however, were feeling this decision as early as October, 2022.

As ADHD Roller Coaster blog readers know, the authorized-generic is the brand; it’s only sold as a generic.

Now, with Big Generic seemingly driving—and in some cases even colluding with—insurers and pharmacies to eliminate access to many brand medications, getting even the brand Concerta is difficult for many consumers. I offer tips below.

You  can also listen to the podcast version.

ADHD Roller Coaster readers have followed my posts about this ongoing story since 2014.  Many followed my suggestion in filing FDA MedWatch complaints.  That resulted in the FDA downgrading the first two Concerta generics as non-bioequivalent. That is, not close enough to Concerta.

I’ll link to my most popular comprehensive post at the end of this one. Much of it no longer applies, but it will be helpful toward understanding the complexity of generic medications.

Overall, the tea leaves suggest that, now that the authorized-generic Concerta has been eliminated, brand Concerta might not be far behind.

I encourage Concerta users to start looking into alternative stimulants.  Now. Don’t know what they are?  That’s a common problem.

In addition to other factors,  most prescribers seem familiar with only 2-3 stimulants.  Currently, two of those are in shortage, Adderall and Concerta (along with Ritalin products). Vyvanse appears to be available as usual.

Moreover, pharmacy-benefit formularies (that is, what’s allowed) vary widely.  Increasingly, brands are inaccessible.

I find all of this unacceptable. We should see a congressional investigation. That’s unlikely, though, given stigma around ADHD.

For 20 years, I’ve listened to prescribing-gone-wrong stories with great frustration. The hard truth is, a huge number of prescribers are not skilled. That means you don’t get the results you hope for, and that’s a shame.

 I created this course to take  you by the hand, step by step, so you can  confidently self-advocate with your prescriber and optimize medication and sleep strategies: Course 2: Physical Strategies

More In This Post on Concerta Generics:

  1. What’s the upshot?
  2. What does this mean for consumers?
  3. Other ADHD medication shortages
  4. Try not to panic
  5. Tips in the meantime
  6. Big picture – the changing Concerta landscape
  7. Why Concerta users have been fortunate for years
  8. Report adverse events to the FDA
  9. Janssen executives – leave a message for them if you like!
  10. My comprehensive post on the Concerta generic issue

1. What’s The Upshot?

The Patriot authorized-generic for Concerta discontinuation notice was finally posted on the FDA website 12/9/22, two weeks after I posted the original article.

On Dec. 2. a Janssen representative told me that warehouses received their final supplies of Concerta authorized-generic weeks ago.

When those supplies are exhausted, that’s it. (The deal officially ended 1/13/23.) No other information was available.

Janssen would not indicate if Concerta brand prices are being negotiated. Rumors have circulated  that J&J/Janssen might sell Concerta to another company.  I’m not sure how that company would fare any better,  competing with a slew of dirt-cheaply made generics. I’ll let subscribers know as I learn more.

A kind reader points us to one data point that casts doubt on Concerta’s continued manufacture.  It indicates  that Janssen parent company J&J started scaling back production at its Alza plant in 2019.
Excerpt from FiercePharma’s Janssen Laying Off 4 Dozen Employees as California Plant Heads Towards Closure:

J&J says the closure is part of an effort to rework its manufacturing network as its drug portfolio changes.

“As part of this transformation, we will scale down production at our Vacaville, California facility with the intent to fully exit the site by the end of 2022,” J&J spokesman Matthew Johnson said.

Janssen, like other drugmakers, is putting more effort into areas such as immunology that involve biologic drugs. That means dropping people with ADHD metaphorically on their heads.

2. What Does This Mean for Consumers?

What does this mean for consumers who have relied on this ADHD stimulant medication for years. Including  my own husband?

That depends on many factors, including:

Personal resources

  • Insurance pharmacy benefit terms (fewer are covering brands these days),
  • Symptom severity and co-existing conditions 
  • Prescriber’s expertise and willingness to help you manage a good strategy

Below, you’ll find a few tips and a request—please report any adverse events with the Concerta and any other generics to the FDA. Link below. 

Consumers have been vulnerable pawns in this game, its way past time  we make our voices heard. We did it in 2014, so let’s try again.

3. Other ADHD Medication Shortages

This turnabout has been made worse by an overall shortage of stimulant medications, including the Concerta generics and Adderall.

Other factors:

  • The ongoing surge in diagnoses thanks to COVID pushing long-lingering issues to the fore.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) limits stimulant raw materials annually.  Has the DEA increased limits due to the increase in diagnosis?  I find noevidence of that.

Bloomberg reported on this 1/5/23: ADHD Drug Shortages Spread to Generic Ritalin.  Excerpt:

Shortages of ADHD medications that started this summer with Adderall have widened to now include another major category of stimulants.

For the past two months, patients have had a hard time finding methylphenidate drugs, a class that includes Novartis AG’s Ritalin and Johnson & Johnson’s Concerta. A drug manufacturer and a major pharmacy told Bloomberg News there are issues with the supply of the drugs, though it’s unclear what’s causing the shortage.

don't panic concerta generic shakeup

4. Let’s Try Not to Panic!

Instead, use this time to gather information and get your ducks in a row. There are several fluctuating factors, and it might take a while for the dust to settle.

For example:

  1. It’s always tricky this time of year, as stimulant raw materials run low, thanks to the DEA’s arbitrary restrictions.
  2. Some supply issues might resolve by January.
  3. We just don’t know what Janssen might do in 2023 in terms of making the brand Concerta more accessible and affordable. What deals it might be cutting with pharmacies and insurers—or sale of the drug to another company. But, as I mentioned above, shutting down the Alza plant does not look positive.

To find more details, I made multiple phone calls to multiple offices at Janssen and parent company Johnson & Johnson. No response. (Companies don’t have to respond anymore. That went out with the flood.)

As previously mentioned, I’ve kept readers informed on Concerta and its generics  (and generics in general) for almost a decade. You can read a historical overview here: Generic ADHD Medications: Events In the News 2009 to 2022

Don’t understand what’s the big deal?

Someone wrote on my Facebook page: “I like the Trigen, Gina. Concerta is not the GOD of stimulants.”

Trigen’s generic for Concerta is one that has long caused problems for some Concerta users who’ve tried it.  Read the comments to the linked overview story at the end of this post.  That reader assumes she has a handle on what’s happening—and she clearly doesn’t.

Moreover, I never claimed Concerta is a GOD or in any other way superior to other stimulant choices.  I claimed only that it is a very popular choice that millions have relied upon for years—and they are losing it without a likely replacement.

The Concerta generics don’t work as Concerta does. In other words, if you get best results from Concerta, chances are good these generics won’t work as well for you.  On the other hand, if Concerta does not work well for you, one of these generics might work better.

The issue isn’t that these are “bad drugs.” The issue is this: They don’t work as Concerta works. They are not bioequivalent, no matter what the Trump-appointed  FDA chief said in 2017.

Scott Gottlieb, MD, in 2017 overrode FDA scientists’ objections in approving this slew of inferior products from “Big Generic.”  Pharmacies and insurers probably make money selling these pennies-to-produce generics made in India and elsewhere. Learn more more history here: Authorized-Generic Concerta Update.

Tips for dealing with Concerta generic problems

5. Meanwhile, Consider These Tips

The main thing is: Don’t wait until the last minute to fill your prescription! Something might be better than nothing.  (In the case of some generics, however, something might be worse than nothing.)

I’ve assembled a few suggestions here.

—Get Familiar with Pharmacy Benefit Details and Workarounds

  • Check to see if you can get brand Concerta—at what price and what is your out-of-pocket maximum.
  • See if there is a cost difference between 30-day local and 90-day home-delivery pharmacy: Home Delivery of Prescribed Stimulant Medications
  • Call your pharmacy benefits manager (or check the website) to see which ADHD medications you can get, as generic or brand. This is typically called the formulary.
  • Have you already tried an inferior Concerta generic, to bad effect? Start documenting that with dates and details for possible “pre-authorization” or “medical coverage exception”. Summarized in a letter from your prescriber, this might result in your insurance covering brand. (While you’re at it, complete an FDA Medwatch form, below.)

—Check Out Savings Programs

  • See if the Concerta savings coupon works with your insurance (not available in CA and MA). Unfortunately, this requires your insurance covering brand.
  • Check to see if you qualify for Janssen’s Patient Assistance Program. That program ended January 1, 2023.
  • GoodRx used to be helpful sometimes with getting brand Concerta, but now it doesn’t even list it or the authorized-generic as an option.

—Start Trying Other Brand Methylphenidate (MPH) Stimulants, If Possible

Some brand medications have no generics yet. Therefore, it might be easier to get them over other brands for which we do have generics.  (In the amphetamine class of stimulants, Vyvanse is one such example.)

More points:

—Check Out Non-Concerta Generic MPH Stimulants

  • There are many generic methylphenidate options.
  • Check out the generics for Daytrana (patch), Metadate CD, Ritalin LA, Ritalin SR. Methylin ER

—Ever Tried an Amphetamine (AMP) Stimulant?

  • If you’ve never tried a stimulant in the amphetamine class, you might want to do so now.
  •  Prescribers have been trained by sales reps to automatically choose Adderall first. But there is no evidence for it. Moreover, it has the highest side-effect profile among the stimulants.
  •  Vyvanse might be a better choice for many, at least to start. And again, there is no generic yet.  It all depends on your unique biochemistry.
  • Some people take Dexedrine, but the old formulations’ abrupt stop-and-start is problematic for many.
  • There are other AMP formulations, too.

—Maximize Health and Supportive Strategies

What the silver lining of this cloud? Perhaps it’s a good opportunity to start optimizing all the strategies that support health and executive functioning,

Let’s face it. Some folks do over-rely on a stimulant to propel them through their day. This is especially true with Adderall, in my observation.

With better sleep, nutrition, exercise and new skills and habits to support Executive Functions, some folks find they need less medication.  The higher the dose, the greater the odds for side effects.

Therefore, start doing what you can to improve brain function in other ways, including:

  • Getting consistently better sleep sleep (same time to bed and awaken, every day)
  • Improved diet and exercise
  • Sunlight in the morning, lower lights in the evening
  • Doubling down on using tools for goal-setting and time-management

Again,  any of these steps  might increase the odds of an alternative stimulant working better for you. More importantly, they are part of the recommended “multi-modal” treatment for ADHD. medication along is seldom enough.

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FDA medwatch complaint concerta generics

6. Adverse Reaction? File an FDA MedWatch Complaint

This is how we got the first two inferior Concerta generics downgraded.  Meaning: consumers were no longer forced to accept them as a generic for Concerta.

It only takes a minute. And the FDA does pay attention (now): FDA MedWatch Voluntary Report

7. The Changing Concerta Landscape

In the past, consumers could more easily switch to brand Concerta. They’d pay the brand price, of course.  Yet, depending on insurance coverage, it would be maybe 3-5 times the generic price. That is, more like $100/month, not $600/month. Even less with the home-delivery 90-day pharmacies.

Then everything changed. Beginning in 2017, “Big Generic” unleashed a slew of non-bioequivalent Concerta generics. Many are produced for pennies, some in poorly regulated Indian and Chinese factories. If your insurance coverage specifies generic (if available), that’s what you might get.

Even with insurance coverage that previously covered brand, soon that wasn’t an option, at any price.

Fortunately, Janssen continued to make available its Concerta authorized-generic.  With a bit of effort—and guidance found on this blog—many consumers succeeded in getting brand Concerta at a generic price. But insurance companies and pharmacies paid a higher price, compared to the inferior generics.

8. Concerta Users Have Been Lucky Thus Far

In a very real sense, we’ve been fortunate to have had the Concerta authorized-generic (brand sold as a generic) for so long. It seems unprecedented.

This is partly due to Concerta’s sophisticated delivery system, using a proprietary osmotic pump called OROS from Alza.  Without OROS, Concerta generics are basically Ritalin generics. (This is why news of Janssen edging toward closing the Alza plant likely means no more Concerta at all.)

That’s why the FDA downgraded the first two inferior Concerta generics, thanks in large part to ADHD Roller Coaster readers filing MedWatch complaints. They simply didn’t work the same as Concerta does.

Things changed in 2017 when the Trump-appointed FDA chief over-ruled FDA scientists concerns about regular Concerta generics’ bioequivalence.

Next thing we know: A leaky boatload of junk generics.  (Yes, some work better than Concerta for some people. That’s not the point. The point is that they are not bioequivalent, and that’s the basis for generic status.)

9. Tell Janssen Executives What You Think

Did this earth-shaking news come in a formal announcement from Johnson & Johnson, parent company to Janssen? How about an obscurely placed press release? No. Apparently, the company that has reaped billions from consumers choosing Concerta didn’t find them worth that little courtesy.

By the way, it’s not like Janssen’s been performing a charity with Concerta. Sales are up 19%, in the U.S., according to Johnson & Johnson’s third-quarter 2022 results.

Johnson & Johnson Reports Q3 2022 Results, concerta profits

Sure, we’re grateful to have gotten the authorized-generic for this long. And we understand that other factors precipitated this change. But that doesn’t mean we overlook having no notice of this change. No press releases. No nothing.

Multiple efforts to get more details today from Janssen  or J&J have failed.  Apparently, company executives find it a trivial matter—cutting off longtime customers from a treatment they’ve come to rely upon.   With my most recent effort, Dec. 2, I was told only what I wrote at the beginning of this post. That is, the last supply went out a few weeks ago. When those are gone, the authorized-generic is no more.

You are welcome to write to the two executives below at this address:

1000 Route 202 South
Raritan, NJ 08869
USA

 

Jennifer Taubert, Executive Vice President
Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Vanessa Broadhurst. Company Group Chairman
Global Commercial Strategy OrganizationJanssen Pharmaceuticals

Johnson & Johnson Executives Authorized-generic Concerta

10. My Comprehensive Post on Concerta Generics

You’ll find my main post on Concerta Generics here:  Authorized-Generic Concerta Update

The first version of this post appeared 12/1/22.

About The Author

226 thoughts on “Janssen Quietly Ends Concerta Authorized-Generic”

  1. Hi Gina,
    About Daytrana, do they make a generic form of the patch also? If so can you please compare what the generic patch contains vs the brand?

    1. Hi Marie,

      Yes, there is a generic Daytrana. I always recommend trying for the brand in any RX, if possible.

      It might be that you could get the brand, using the savings program. Just depends on your insurance policy terms.

      But if not, there is a generic.

      I have no information about how the generic Daytrana differs from the brand.

      The folks who have tried the generic recently upon my suggestion report that it’s working fairly well. The trouble is, none of them tried the brand previously. So there is no comparison.

      good luck
      g

  2. I started taking Concerta around two years ago now and was doing great on it, but this month I was blindsided and put on Trigen generic by CVS (not to mention that they tried to slap the name ‘Concerta’ on the pill bottle and charge me name-brand price for it- luckily I immediately noticed this and got the generic price). I am so glad to have done my research and come across this website explaining that there IS a difference between the two. I have often heard that generic is essentially the same as name brand, so when I started feeling worse soon after starting the generic I was worried that I was going to be dismissed. Now I feel like crying all the time without reason and I have no energy to do basic tasks that I’m normally fine doing. I have plenty of experience with clinical depression, so I am very vigilant in recognizing it, and I can tell this is an abnormal sudden turn in mood.

    This is all to say I feel a lot better and seen by reading these posts – and have scheduled an appointment with my doctor to hopefully work things out! Unfortunately, my insurance changed this year, and they’ve decided to no longer cover Concerta. All of this happening at the start of a new school semester is not fun! Fingers crossed I find a decent solution. 🙂

    1. Hi Allie,

      I’m glad you found my blog!

      Maybe your MD can help guide you, but honestly, many of my readers are MDs seeking guidance here. 🙂

      If you read the post, you’ll see that it’s quite possible Concerta itself is going away soon, too. So, the sooner you can start trying other options, the better.

      Several students in my course on ADHD medications have followed my suggestion to look into the generic for Daytrana patch. You wear it on the skin. But there are other options. I mention a few in this post.

      Good luck!
      Gina

  3. My new favorite thing is when I can actually find a pharmacy with ANY methylphenidate in stock, having them tell me they won’t fill my son’s Rx if he hasn’t already been filling there so they can conserve what they have for regular patients.

  4. In an earlier post, someone mentioned the generic by Camber. I looked at the prescribing information online and it looked similar to Concerta time release (more specifically pharmacokinetics), perhaps suspiciously so. Also, my local CVS may be able to get some. On the other hand, some disconcerting comments about Camber on the web, although none I saw specifically about methylphenidate extended release. Your thoughts?

  5. I so appreciate your blog and all your info — I’ve been following for many many years, back since Actavis was the official generic equivalent. I’ve often called our doctor after reading relevant info here, keeping him up to date, lol.

    I have twins who are 15, one of whom has been on Concerta since he was 5. His sister started taking a much lower dose at age 10. It’s been working great for both — we tried a few other things, none with much success.

    Now we’re scrambling to find an alternative, as brand-name Concerta is not covered by our insurance (I tried to get an exception — they’re not budging). Both kids have been taking Metadate CD (now just methylphenidate CD, I think) for the last few months while we couldn’t find Patriot. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t last nearly as long, and having to take short-acting boosters after school is not going well. On the up side, we haven’t had worrisome side effects, either — it’s tolerated well by both.

    A friend said her son has had a lot of success on Jornay PM. Apparently you take it at night, because it doesn’t start kicking in for 10-ish hours? And then it’s supposed to last all day like Concerta, with smooth releases. Does anyone have further info? It’s worrisome that there is no dosage converter — should I ask the doctor to prescribe 20 mg pills, and then you take one the first few days, two the next few, etc. until you hit the correct dosage? From what I understand, most teenagers do best on 60 or 80 mg? That seems high, but I realize the dosage doesn’t compare to Concerta.

    Thank you again for updating us on what’s happening!

    1. Hi Tina,

      Thanks for letting me know my work has helped you and your family.

      I do think Metadate CD (brand name) might be a good option for many, especially those that need a “faster startup” in the morning.

      Here’s the thing….have you tried a second dose of the Metadate CD? Rather than “boosters” of something else.

      Most prescribers seem to believe that 1) 1 extended-release pill should do it!, 2) symptoms should be treated only for school/work….home doesn’t matter (yikes!), and 3) a stimulant in the system in the evening will interfere with sleep.

      Most extended-release pills don’t last as long as claimed on the package. That tends to be on the far end, and perhaps for slow metabolizers.

      Adding a “booster” of an entirely different medication means all kinds of adjustments in the body. The body likes homeostatis, not randomness.

      re: Journay PM

      I followed with interest its development. Asked more than my share of questions of the company’s conference exhibitors. I thought it might be just the ticket for lots of folks.

      Trouble is, I rarely hear from anyone who has tried it. Most prescribers don’t know about it. And, with things the way they are now — with Big Generic having taken over — I’m not sure it would be available to most people.

      But I think it’s worth a try.

      That’s exactly what it does. It hangs out in the colon, waiting for the outer layer to dissolve and kick in X hours later.

      I imagine it would take some trial and error as far as when to take it. Some will metabolize that faster, some slower.

      As for dosage….it’s just impossible to do conversions. The delivery system makes all the difference. I would treat it as if taking a stimulant for the first time — start low, titrate (increase) slow.

      That seems a little trickier with Journay PM. But maybe during a holiday week or the summer, you could do these trials.

      We definitely cannot believe the “average starting dose” bit. There is no average. There are only individuals with ADHD, some who metabolize fast/slow/average.

      I hope this helps. You might want to check out my course on medication and sleep.

      https://ginapera.adhdsuccesstraining.com/course-2-physical-strategies

      Sub-titled….everything you wish your prescriber knew or had time for but doesn’t. 🙂

      g

    2. Gina, thank you so much for your reply.

      From what I understand, brand-name Metadate CD no longer exists — it was discontinued several years back? I think only the generics remain, and I have no idea if several exist, and whether they’re bioequivalent.

      I hear what you’re saying about the “boosters” — I was under the impression that they are just short-acting methylphenidate, and thus the same drug as Metadate CD — so it didn’t occur to me that it would cause disruption. And I also never thought you could take a second pill of the Metadate CD — I will look into this and consider!

      I will also follow up if we try Jornay PM and share our experience. Thank you again.

    3. Hi Tina,

      Yes, Metadate CD went off patent years ago.

      I just continue to use the brand name because otherwise, the methylphenidate generics mostly all sound alike! Folks get confused.
      g

    4. Just a comment to Gina’s reply. For almost 10 years, My son and I both take a morning dose and afternoon full dose of Concerta. I may have a fast burn rate and I feel Concerta last around 6-7 hours. ADHD last all day… and I need symptoms relief for the entire day. 2 doses work great and I actually sleep better if I have a bit in my system… quiets my mind down. The only drawback has been insurance. Taking a morning and afternoon dose puts us both over the highest recommended dose. We had to get a PA and jump a few other hurdles but it has been worth it.

    5. Good for you, Sheryl. Getting what you know works—and falls in line with basic clinical guidelines—only makes sense!

      g

  6. I was googling my medication because I felt it had become less effective, and I just happened to find your articles…. Coincidentally, I switched to the Trigen generic a year ago due to insurance. Thank you for the information.

    1. Hi RM,

      Welcome to the ADHD Roller Coaster! I’m glad you found me.

      Kudos to you for noticing the difference and investigating.

      It’s really easy sometimes to attribute the change to other factors — more stress at work, relationship difficulties, etc.. The confusing irony is that a poorly working medication can CAUSE those issues. It gets messy!

      take care,
      g

  7. Aptensio XR was given to both myself and my son, it’s a poor substitute. My son was complaining two days ago that “his jaw hurt,” after many successful years with Concerta. I’ve been finding myself wandering in circles, getting off track. Yesterday I HALF made the bed then got involved with something else, also forgot to make my kids lunches yesterday. They were late to school on Monday for the first time in three years. I know that my significant other is also finding me more abrasive but he’s kind and hasn’t said a word.
    I’m supposed to take 3x 30 mg a day, according to my doctor, who has acknowledged that it won’t work the same. I normally take one 54 mg Concerta in am, and one 36 mg at noon. Taking 2x 30 mg aptensio at once did not work out! Yesterday I took one at 6 am, one at 9 am, and one at 1pm. That was slightly better, it wasn’t all “wandering in circles,” but it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. I had trouble sleeping but could’ve been the extra coffee I drank to try to feel “normal?” Today I’ll try 6, 9, and 12. I used to take Concerta upon waking, but I meditate at 5:30am and this new medication is not (yet?) meditation-friendly.

    If one is prone to anxiety or obsessive recurring thoughts, I do not think you would enjoy this feeling. The only upside is that I was obsessing on the $ a former corporate client owed me since 2020. I contacted the CEO directly of this 2 billion dollar company (instead of the accounts payable department I’d been dealing with for months on end) and I’m finally getting paid today.
    I really hope we can get Concerta again. I need to pack to move myself and my two kids from the house they’ve grown up in, by June 1st, I cannot see myself going through all our stuff and staying on task like this. I’m also trying to expand my business and even sitting down to concentrate compose a compelling email will be a challenge.

    1. Hi Dari,

      I feel for you — and can only imagine how the change might be affecting you. And many others. But hey, you got that payment going! Still, maybe you could re-examine how you are taking the Aptensio Xr.

      One thing to know: Aptensio XR releases releases more methylphenidate in the morning (about 40%) with the remaining 60% a few hours later.

      By contrast, Concerta is slower to kick in and does so at a steadily ascending rate. Very smooth. Other Rx, maybe not so much. That’s the beauty of OROS, the osmotic pump that makes methylphenidate Concerta. That said, some folks need a bigger jump-start in the morning than Concerta can provide. So they might add a short-acting Ritalin or try another MPH option.

      HERE IS MY CONCERN: why does your doctor have you taking multiple doses only hours apart????? Aptensio XR is supposed to last 12 hours. While most extended-release Rx don’t last as long as claimed, at the very least it’s probably in effect for 6 hours.

      The doses do NOT translate as equivalent. That is, you can’t assume that 54 mg Concerta can be replicated with 60 mg Aptensio XR. Differences between delivery systems can create huge differences in how much — and how fast — the methylphenidate is released.

      Rather, a wiser approach is to start low and gradually increase, just as if you were first starting a stimulant. Because you are, a new stimulant.

      First, you aim for the dose that works best——for however hours it remains in effect. THEN you work on it lasting through the day, either by taking a second (often lower) dose or some other means.

      Good luck!

      g

  8. This is such a frustrating situation.

    Concerta worked super well for me and was a vital part of me succeeding in college last semester, but then it was suddenly taken off of my formulary and I was given Trigen. Trigen made me almost break down crying. It was the “same medicine”, but it basically felt like I wasn’t taking anything. I filed a report with the FDA, here’s hoping they actually care.

  9. My doctor’s office recently sent out an email to patients about this issue. In addition to the known shortages, they mention that “recent reports from patients indicates many pharmacies no longer carry Concerta.” I think your tea leaf readings are very likely correct.

  10. For what it’s worth, I’ve been on Concerta for nearly 20 years, and in the past had trouble with one of the generics. I’ve been specifying Patriot for a while now and been fine, but I did try one other generic and found no difference for me personally.

    I just took out one of those, used a magnifying glass and then looked up the number, and to my surprise it is the Trigen generic.

    I know others have complained about those. Personally, I found no difference with that particular manufactured product.

    1. Congratulations! You lucked out, Andrew.

      You might want to ask your prescriber to note that on your prescriptions — and, for backup, ask your pharmacy to flag that preferred generic in your file.

      Here’s a little caveat, though….you don’t mention how long you’ve been taking the Trigen generic. But sometimes it sneaks up on a person. It might take a few weeks. And, in some cases, the difference isn’t always clearly felt by the person taking the pill. Rather, it’s by interacting with others.

      cheers
      g

    1. Hi Ethan,

      As I mentioned in the post:

      Overall, the tea leaves suggest that, with the authorized-generic Concerta has been eliminated, brand Concerta won’t be far behind.

      Just the tea leaves — extrapolations based on other data. No announcements.

      Then again, Janssen didn’t “make an announcement” about the AG being discontinued until supplies were almost out. And the “announcement” was very quiet — meaning, none except ADHD Roller Coaster blog readers knew about this several weeks ahead.

      If you’re taking Concerta and able to get brand, I’d keep with it. But, I’d also have an eye toward important “crunch periods” in the next year or so where being told, ‘No more Concerta” might really pull the rug out from under you — and plan accordingly.

      good luck,
      Gina

      good luck,
      Gina

  11. My son, got moved over to Metadate CD. He is only 14 and has doesn’t really know what he takes. He also has the mindset of ‘ just give me what I am suppose to take and I will take it”. and we haven’t told him about the change as we know he will fixate on it. He is strong on advocating for himself though, so we have few worries. So far, so good.

    1. Hi T,

      That’s wonderful. I hope the transition remains smooth.

      One thing….it’s important to remember that ADHD can mean not noticing details, and if the medication isn’t working effectively, they might not know what they’re not noticing. 🙂

      It’s good to have objective rating scales, treatment goals, etc… something to measure it by.

      g

  12. Wow, Gina, thank you for all your work. I’ve read your “Is it you, me or ADHD” book, so amazing! If only I found it before my ex husband had had enough! Oh well, his loss….
    Also unfortunate, I didn’t find your blog until yesterday, when my doctor explained that Concerta is no longer being made. I feel like someone from Kaiser should’ve given us a head up! I’ve been on it for 11 years with great success. I have no idea how to successfully parent without it. Running my business, with my already problematic administration difficulties, is going to be exceptionally challenging. I’m afraid but not (yet) panicking. My 16 year old son also has been taking it for 3 years now. I would’ve at least had us taper down if I had known, or at least conserve and not take it over breaks and vacations. Tomorrow I get to spend the day getting in and out of the pharmacy line at Kaiser, while my doctor and the pharmacist discuss comparable medications and their availability.

    His girlfriend asked what we’re going to be like now, I said “we’re going to be a lot more fun!” Not sure if will be as much fun for everyone else, though. We both have certain odd behaviors, like repeating what people say on tv, when unmedicated. I never realized it until my boyfriend pointed it out, he will gently say “did you take your medication?” Now we can just say, “nah! They don’t make that sh*t anymore!”

    Jokes aside, thanks for all your work. I’ll keep digging and hoping for a suitable replacement.

    1. Hi Dari,

      I’ve always found that a sense of humor — and appreciation for the absurd — can get me through a lot.

      NOBODY gave a warning. Not Kaiser. Not “ADHD websites” Nobody. Only me. Not to toot my own horn but that’s the fact.

      I tend to see consequences far down the road. Thanks for noticing my efforts here!

      You might not want to leave it entirely up to KP and your doctor (unless you really trust your MD).

      Check out some that I mention in the post. Most prescribers seem to know only Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Vyvanse. There are many other MPH medications, some of them brand with no generic — and with savings programs.

      good luck!
      g

  13. Thank you for all your help with keeping track of what is going on. I am so confused whether to keep my son on Concerta or not. Can someone confirm Janssen, not Patriot, is also looking to stop selling Concerta. I am going to have my son start on a medication and get used to it and then having to switch. This is crazy. Any comments would be super helpful

    1. Hi Aron,

      It’s best to read my post—or ask me. Sometimes reader comments are accurate and sometimes not. 🙂

      We have no firm word on whether Concerta brand will continue or not. That is not forthcoming from the company or elsewhere. The best we can do it keep reading the tea leaves.

      Anything can change at any time. For the time being, it might be best to go with what works well and what is affordable/accessible. If that becomes unavailable/unaffordable, then you can look elsewhere.

      Changing medication isn’t always a huge deal, and there are many choices in the methylphenidate class.

      ]A different medication might work better in some ways, not as well in others. It’s always a balancing act. That’s why it’s good to have a trial of each class of stimulant—and sometimes more than one choice in each class.

      The main issue with Concerta is that its generics do not work as Concerta works. For some people, one of the generics might work better FOR THEM than brand Concerta does.

      To clarify one of your points, just in case: Janssen IS Patriot. Patriot is the division of Janssen that sold the authorized-generic (brand sold as a generic, through a marketing deal that postponed the first Concerta generic entering the market).

      It might be helpful for you to learn more about the different choices and how to target treatment goals. Here is my course on that topic: https://ginapera.adhdsuccesstraining.com/course-2-physical-strategies

      good luck!
      g

    2. Dear Gina and everyone,
      Just to be clear , as the reader who initially commented that the Alza plant was shutting down and I wondered if that meant Jannsen was going to discontinue Concerta altogether, I had no info besides that they were shuttering the plant! I wish I could find more info on that , but I cannot. I also feel like briefly I saw Gina had posted something more definitive on the fate of either Concerta itself or the alza plant latest news but now I don’t see that anywhere. I am in the same spot as others here— a consumer trying to figure out what’s happening! I try to do some internet “ research” but have no sense of the industry beforehand and value and rely on Gina’s great handle on things— I just want to be clear that I too am only providing “ tea leaves “ I come across and never meant to imply I “ found “ that Concerta brand is being discontinued. There are just some weird concurrences and I indeed am worried they will and so ask if that may be on the horizon hoping that anyone with more information or knowledge about how to get it might lead us to the answer! Good luck to all in this !

    3. Thanks, M. I think you were cautious in sharing those news tidbits.

      Some folks are panicking. It’s understandable.

      Unlike Janssen, I like to give folks a heads-up. To just be aware.

      tx
      g

    4. Dear Gina and all,
      I am hoping that someone else is “ allowed” either via a new patent or “deal” with Jannsen owner of Alza and thus their OROS tech patent, to get that good Osmotic action into adhd meds . Feels like it should be doable and for Jannsen to quash it in any way feels wrong at a level beyond just Investigating Adhd meds maybe.
      But again I am speaking as someone who is not familiar with the pharma world ( but feel like I need to try just to advocate for my family members given that apparently we are on our own in the wilds of capitalism before patient care!)
      Good luck to all in this!

  14. Thank you for all of this work. I started taking methylphenidate last January and been on 54mg for most of it. I didn’t pay much attention to the drug manufacturer because I pretty much limited to generic anyway. I think I was mainly getting Teva or Trigen. My last refill in December took weeks due to shortages and I got Patriot, which I found rather ironic. I just wish I knew from the start that there was so much variation.

    1. Hi J,

      It’s scandalous — how much prescribers don’t know, how much the commercial sites exploiting the “ADHD market” don’t tell you (most of them promote a non-methylphenidate-producing pharma, which funds them), etc..

      I’ve seen the difference that being self-educated makes. It’s absolutely necessary for everyone taking ADHD Rx.

      I finally created an in-depth course——with printable charts, guides, etc.——to help folks with ADHD optimize their medication and address ADHD-related sleep challenges.

      The hot mess I see out there just nauseates me. Folks deserve better.

      https://ginapera.adhdsuccesstraining.com/course-2-physical-strategies

      take care
      g

  15. Hi Gina,
    Replying to your 1/18 post re: how corporate communication has changed for the worse since the 90’s…
    When thinking about how to get the word out re: Janssen leaving untold numbers of people stranded without the medication they rely on, and how we measly consumers/patients seem to have no voice or recourse, it occurred to me…..what about using that forum that has recently been re-opened to actual FREE SPEECH, i.e. Twitter. Whatever one’s opinion about Elon Musk personally, there’s no denying that he is working hard to uncensor and bring back voices that had previously been blocked, due to being “inconvenient” for the “powers that be.” (whether they be Government, Big Pharma, or any other entity.) I am not on Twitter, but for those that are, how about blasting Janssen with some outrage over this situation? Maybe that would get their attention, or at least make others who could possibly help aware of the situation. It is unconscionable what they are doing, and the word needs to be spread as far and wide as possible!

    1. Hi Ann,

      I figured that public shaming on LinkedIn — where other businesspeople, scientists, physicians, etc. — would be more effective. Also, I use my FB page, as it is public and comes up in searches.

      On Twitter, it would just make everybody angry and resorting to angry platitudes, “Curses, Big Pharma!” 🙂

      Personally, I’ve always found Twitter a bit of a sewer — full of trolls and hotheads — though I know some folks really like it and they find community there.

      I don’t have time for more fractured nonsense. Trying to explain an extremely complex issue in a few words.

      “Uncensored” means that any crank or propagandist (take identities galore) can say anything. That is not what the free press or free speech is all about.

      I find Musk’s behavior sociopathic and toxic. I would not support him in any way. These tech “titans” are at the forefront of eroding civility and distorting information.

      But hey, you can try it on Twitter! 🙂

      g

  16. Sorry it won’t let me reply to your message, so had to do a new one.. I work in pharmacy obviously I’ve heard about the Janssen generic being stopped, but nothing about the actual Brand name Concerta being discontinued, nor has anyone else in my very large pharmacy group.. can you send me the link you are getting this info that the brand name is being discontinued.

    1. Roxi — You’re not going to find announcements like that. Companies don’t bother thinking about consumers anymore, even consumers who’ve made them fortunes over the years.

      And, thanks to Google, Facebook et al, newspapers don’t have the staff to cover these issues.

      Instead, we have to piece together bits of information.

      I wrote in this post:

      Update:  A kind reader points us to this article, indicating that Janssen parent company J&J started scaling back production at its Alza plant in 2019.
      Excerpt from FiercePharma’s Janssen Laying Off 4 Dozen Employees as California Plant Heads Towards Closure:

      J&J says the closure is part of an effort to rework its manufacturing network as its drug portfolio changes.

      “As part of this transformation, we will scale down production at our Vacaville, California facility with the intent to fully exit the site by the end of 2022,” J&J spokesman Matthew Johnson said.

      Janssen, like other drugmakers, is putting more effort into areas such as immunology that involve biologic drugs.

      g

    2. Wow Gina on the 1/18 end-of-day post on this reply chain, so beautifully expressed .

      So have you waded in the swamp of patents documents at all lol?!
      I just started on that for fun, imagining that I’d seen someone somewhere I can’t recall implying Alza’s OROS patent was over soon. I don’t know when the original was done, but they clearly game the patent system in a big way and visibly so in their documentation for their 2013 renewal essentially of their OROS delivery system, which seemed to come with lawsuits against multiple generic makers presumably trying to make delivery systems like theirs . The lawsuit parts are hard to parse because they are purposely vague of course, but wow disgusting. From the patent pdf references it almost looks like some of the manufacturers of the pulled generics were trying to make a decent osmotic system ( which they would reasonably want to do, right, to put out a truly therapeutically equivalent product) and Alza said that’s infringement and also renewed/extended a patent by saying we are now moving from bilayer form to trilayer and we backwards claim
      All previous tech we had patented ( but that now has expired) to be included in this new patent and so nobody can mimic it .

      https://image-ppubs.uspto.gov/dirsearch-public/print/downloadPdf/9000038

      The title of the patent also seems anachronistically vague and really feels scandalous :

      METHODS AND DEVICES FOR PROVIDING PROLONGED DRUG THERAPY

      Like huh lol? In 1965 maybe but in 2013?!
      No wonder an “agreement” was reached between a generics maker and Jannsen to market and make some easy money off the brand marketed as generic so they could staunch the bleeding of lawyers fees on this patent bs . I mean , it might be slightly more expensive or complicated to make their osmotic system but I would guess even generic makers would like a shot . I have to re-read all the timeline of the initial off-patent shenanigans you chronicle and see how this patent fits in lol, it doesn’t look like the other patent filings I’ve been looking at but I’ve just started ( wordle is only once a day after all!)

    3. Interesting!!!

      Yes, Janssen entered that marketing deal with Watson — forestalling its Concerta generic by allowing it to sell the authorized-generic.

      Watson to Actavis to Teva. I suspect Teva’s generic is that developed at Watson. But who the heck knows what’s happening in this giant shell game.

      https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/cases-proceedings/1210132-watson-pharmaceuticals-actavis-inc-matter

      I am so immersed in course-creation and delivery, answering e-mail, facilitating groups, and blogging…..can’t get distracted even more than I am with the granular bits. But I appreciate you sharing this!

      Given what you write, I find a bit ironic that Silicon Valley’s 800-pound gorilla IP law firm, Wilson-Sonsini, now occupies the real estate where Alza used to be!

      g

    4. Good luck with all those spinning plates and thank you for your very important work! Wow on the Silicon Valley law firm thing how ironic! The business journalist community there must be very interesting indeed!
      Maybe not at all ironic actually , maybe they are setting up there because they are so close to the action that Alza /Jannsen/new biologics-focused J&J represents that it makes most sense for them to be literally in the room. To guide the development of IP itself essentially, to strategize for ROI in a big picture (collusional) way. Given that VC and PE have consolidated so much, Lord only knows how much development is micro managed in ways we never ever get to see, and they can be even closer to that if they sit at the incubator, which is what the local commerce boards have invited in to replace their “legacy “ old school businesses “merely “ taking care of patients pill needs :/

    5. M – the business journalist community here is non-existent. Mostly lapdogs and sycophants.

      Google, Craigslist, Facebook et al killed newspapers, especially local papers. Silicon Valleyites tend to view news as “free”, not stopping to think who is funding the free and why. Or, they find national newspapers/issues sexier than local news.

      To be clear: Alza (“the first independent drug-delivery company in the world”) vacated years ago, almost 30 years after being established, in 1971. JNJ acquired Alza in 2007.

      Yes, whole lot of skullduggery going on, and NO watchdogs.

      g

  17. So are they getting rid of the Concerta brand name discount card? I keep reading conflicting info and I just used mine 2 days ago. Granted it didn’t cover as much cause of the coverage my insurance provides and I had to pay $50 for it which is fine. But just wondering if they are getting rid of the card?

    1. Hi Roxi,

      No word about the card yet. But Janssen is phasing out Concerta, period. Don’t know when exactly but it’s expected this year.

      So that means no savings card when Concerta is no longer sold.

      g

    2. So Gina, I’m confused.

      I thought the Authorized Generic was no more in 2023. But I also thought that Brand was still available IF you are willing to pay Out of Pocket since MOST insurance companies have removed it from Formulary list. Did I miss something?

    3. Yes, LBS, the brand is available for now.

      But reading the tea leaves, including gradual staff lay-offs at the Alza manufacturing plant, it’s not looking good.

      Initially, I thought it might be sold. But thanks to “Big Generic,” that might not be feasible.

      With the patented OROS system that makes methylphenidate Concerta no longer made, how can Concerta be produced?

      g

    4. Hi all and Gina!
      I am that reader who had found tidbits about the Alza plant closing but precious little besides the trade mention here and news from Vacaville economic development folks

      https://solanoedc.org/news/vacaville-stepping-up-its-biotech-attraction-and-retention-efforts

      https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/solano-news/vacaville/vacaville-enters-2nd-phase-of-its-biotech-attraction-initiative/

      who just formed some sort of ( no doubt VC backed ) non-profit to start a biologics incubator to make up for the loss of jobs from Alza and other traditional pharma production that the area had relied on. Private Equity and VC and the massive amounts of secretive capital moves they represent are at the base of the problem here i think — pharma has no need to care about patients and the corporations don’t even need to care about their relationships with other corporations because they are all owned or incentivized by giant capital groups who decide “ what’s hot”. What I can’t find is confirmation of what is happening to the Alza plant?

      So, did you get rumor mill confirmation that Jannsen is ending Concerta altogether? Is it maybe Related to that Relexxii approval as an RLD when it’s just Osmotica “Osmodex” Concerta?! They got the initial RL for Relexxii first as “ the only 72 mg ER methylphenidate “ and then got approval just months ago for the other Concerta dosages it looks like and now all those generics will be generic for Relexxii! That was vertical pharma for initial RL approval of the 72mg ER, then they merged with Osmotica and now all owned by Avista partners, who I haven’t researched further for implied roles in all this mess but would not doubt if they were!
      Soooo big generic wins again because if they announce Concerta is being discontinued so sorry we’re focusing on biologicals you folks are fine because look over here there is a newly approved brand called Relexxii! Docs already know it from the 72mg and now we’re expanding to all the Concerta dosages and we’ll give you a savings card! The question I have is if they will also pull the existing generics for Concerta? I see Adhansia XR was pulled before it had generics but for example Metadate CD was discontinued for brand but there is still generic formulations available. I’m not sure when Metadate was pulled as brand and if generic makers tend to pull their generics after a while if the brand is discontinued.
      It leaves me wondering also about Alza . There are other drugs that use this system and should not it be a patent that expires at some point? I think I saw some news about that on a patent website but it looked like they were being given options to extend it? It would be so awful if Jannsen keeps the patent for a truly good OROS system just to “kill” it via insider agreements gaming the markets for their profit !! I fear that too is happening.
      Biologics are so “hot” right now that when I called a pharmacy today to ask about adhd meds we got to chatting and he told me oh he has to get a second refrigerator because the increase in the use of biologics is insane!

    5. Interesting, “kind reader”.

      What to make of it? I have no idea.

      Figure out one thing and that will change, too. It’s like a giant game of Whack-a-Mole, with ADHD patients as the moles.

      I’m old enough to know how aberrant and sociopathic this is, and I wish I wasn’t.

      g

    6. Ugh, dear kind Gina, it really does feel like whack-a-mole !
      The execs probably actually orchestrate that part as well so that we moles are too disoriented to even work out what to pursue in terms of remedy or complaint :/
      Good luck everyone and I am grateful we have at least some forums for sharing stories and info thanks Gina!
      It’s definitely sociopathic but did you mean aberrant even for the sociopathic orchestrators of pharma profits lol? Like, this is bad even for them, and maybe there is some investigating /complaining to be done (knowing of course that drugging kids isn’t a popular banner to wave for Congress people)? Or just abhorrent, which it is clearly also :/

    7. ha. You’re right. “Big Pharma” hasn’t exactly been choir-boy material. But despite all that, many people have benefited from life-enhancing and life-saving medications.

      I know scientists who work in pharma. They are very driven by helping people. It’s sometimes a bit different in the marketing-sales-strategy-whatever departments.

      But I mean all of it…corporations everywhere. I started noticing it when I moved to Silicon Valley. I’d been managing editor at a business paper in Southern California for several years. I was familiar with the way things worked then (early 1990s).

      What I saw here, with the exception of old-school companies such as HP, was outrageous “I’ll do what I damn well want” behavior from rest of the tech sector. They put up their communications firewall. They’ll call you. You don’t call them. It was definitely a departure from standard practice. But now it’s become the standard.

      Corporations make it impossible to contact anyone in the company. About anything.

      Thanks to Google (and before that Craigslist) and Facebook and….newspaper advertising was decimated. Especially classified ads, the bread and butter for many local papers. People thought they could get “news for free” and so didn’t subscribe and support local papers.

      Companies got accustomed to never being questioned by the media, no stories written about them — except in the most egregious cases or in the industry rags’ softball stories or financial market analysis. They don’t even pretend to have a media contact any more.

      So, yes, more sociopathic than they used to be — and more “in-your face” about it.

      I’m totally behaving badly on LinkedIn. lol. I don’t care. I’m going to raise questions wherever anyone will listen.

      We have precious few outlets these days, thanks to the Masters of the Universe. To see there self-congratulatory post after post from Janssen….I should say press release after press release…. my nausea hits tolerability limits seeing all those smiles and reading all the platitudes. And I hear my Italian momma’s voice: “BASTA!” (Enough!)

      Sorry, I’m a little amped up. The local Adult ADHD group just ended. I never stop seeing the real-life fallout — from reckless prescribing to these pharmaceutical shell games — and it pi**es me off. 🙂

      cheers
      g

  18. Do you have contact information for the Janssen/J&J execs who made this Concerta Alza Generic business decision without consideration of the patients?

    1. Unfortunately no, DJ. Corporations these days have heavily defended access — and no longer have media contacts. Unless it’s for financial reporters, I imagine.

      It’s all disgusting and slimy.

      g

    2. Jennifer Taubert
      Executive Vice President
      Worldwide Chairman
      Pharmaceuticals
      Janssen Pharmaceuticals

      Vanessa Broadhurst
      Company Group Chairman
      Global Commercial Strategy Organization
      Janssen Pharmaceuticals

    3. Hi Laura,

      I could find their names but not the contact information. Did you see that?

      I did send a mail to media relationships weeks ago. Still waiting.
      tx
      g

    4. Look at Johnson & Johnson’s SEC filings. About J&J. Our Leadership Team. 10-Q filing shows corporate address as:
      One Johnson & Johnson Plaza
      New Brunswick, New Jersey 08933

    5. Sorry to be unclear, Laura. I found the corporate address for Janssen but was trying to find more direct contact information.

      If readers would like to write the behemoth J&J, they can have at it. But I can’t imagine anyone will even open the mail.

      This is the stated corporate headquarters address for Janssen:

      1000 Route 202 South
      Raritan, NJ 08869
      USA

  19. From the Janssen website: “Beginning January 1, 2023, patients that have public or private insurance will no longer be eligible for the JJPAF program.”

    1. The savings card is still in effect; however, the max benefit is $150. Last week Walgreens quoted me a price (with insurance) for non-generic Concerta of $150. I called this week and they said there was a price increase and it is now $300!

    2. Wow, Jackie.

      Sounds like price-gouging — but where does it originate? Maybe try another drugstore? Did you check local prices on Goodrx?

      Might be time to try another methylphenidate formulation entirely — there are lots of them. Some are brand.

      I’d say we need a congressional investigation about all this mess but unfortunately, “drugging children” is not a popular thing for politicians to do.

      good luck,
      g

  20. I’m about to pay $428 for brand Concerta because my insurance company refuses to cover any portion of brand Concerta. Unfortunately for me I tried other ADHD medications and Concerta has been the most effective for me. It took months of trial and error to settle on Concerta about 6 years ago. I’m so disappointed with my my doctor’s office bc they apparently cannot or will not properly complete the prior authorization paperwork. My next step is to go back to a psychiatrist to try to find a new ADHD medication.

    1. Oh boy, and you can’t use the savings coupon?

      A few new formulations have come out in the last six years.

      good luck,
      g

  21. My daughter has been on concerta since she was 12 years old. She is now 33 and pregnant in her first trimester. Her doctor wants her to take a different drug. Sorry I don’t know the name. He even gave her a coupon. The pharmacy said that they can not fill the script with out without the coupon because her insurance company refuses to pay for it. At any other time in her life I don’t know if I would be concerned as I am right now because she is pregnant and we don’t know how this is going to affect the fetus.

    1. Hi Karyn,

      I understand your concern.

      She is unable to get brand, at an affordable cost?

      Many women with ADHD choose to stay on a stimulant during pregnancy, though this is more common (and considered more prudent) when it’s an MPH stimulant, not an amphetamine.

      ADHD neurobiology is about more than focus. There are many downstream physical effects from untreated ADHD — and from treated ADHD. It depends on the individual.

      Sometimes the lowered functioning (without Rx) creates more danger to the mother and fetus than the medication.

      g

  22. I only managed to get my diagnosis and first prescription last June. I’m in the latter half of my 20s. I had no idea that all this very well could be a contributing factor to inconsistencies I’ve experienced over the past several months since I started this medication. I’ve had one prescription filled with the alza barrel-shaped pills. Prior to reading various pages on your website, I thought there was no difference in operation between the medications, but because of my lack of awareness and the limited span of 30 days with the authorized generic… I have no reference point to accurately compare my experience between the two. I can, however, definitively say that this more than likely explains the varied results I’ve had with this medication, even when I have been keeping up with my self-care.

    Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help beyond filling out the FDA complaint form.

    1. hi Leica,

      I’m afraid most people don’t realize this, that generics aren’t always “bioequivalent.”

      Neither do many MDs and pharmacists.

      It’s gotten so bad now …

      Stay tuned in case I get any other big ideas on actions we can take.

      Cheers,
      G

  23. Unfortunately, Quillivant and Quillichew are also not covered. My insurance covers NO brand name ADHD med. None at all.

    Physical strategies and coaching are useful as an adjunct to stimulant meds but do not work on their own. The meds are needed to get to a state of focus where coaching can start to help.

    1. Hi again, BKM,

      Unfortunately, that seems to be the trend….no coverage of ANY ADHD brand medication.

      There still might be generic options, though. For example, Daytrana (the patch) is now a generic. Metadate CD is a generic. And there are more.

      g
      P.S. Preaching to the choir there on physical strategies and coaching being of little use without meds “on board.”

  24. I have two kids who have been on Concerta 54 mg for years. We used generic versions most of this time because under my insurance I only had to pay $10 for the generic compared with $60 for brand name Concerta. I have no idea which generic was being used, whether it was the Janssen one or one of the cheaper ones, because my kids were doing fine on it.
    But in November, I went to fill my daughter’s prescription and was told by my pharmacist that he could no longer get any generic and had to fill with brand name Concerta. Fine, we sucked it up and paid the higher co-pay. Same with my son who uses a CVS in NJ – no generic available, so we ponied up for the brand name.
    However, my employer switched insurance plans effective Jan 1, and the new plan no longer covers brand name Concerta AT ALL. I have no idea what to do. The pharmacist says to get the doctor to write an appeal, saying that my kids need the brand name Concerta. But I don’t see how the doctor can do that because the issue isn’t that my kids can’t use generics, it is that there are NO generics to be found. We are desperate. My son, who is in college, will probably have to take a health leave of absence if he can’t access effective medication, and I don’t know what will happen to my daughter who is in HS- she is pretty much nonfunctional when off meds. Do you have any advice?

    1. Hi BKM,

      It’s so horrifying, thinking of how many people are in similar situations right now.

      I imagine pulling a drug with such huge market-share is sending customers to the dwindling supply of Concerta generics.

      As I wrote in this post, the best we can do now is look into other methylphenidate medications. There are many.

      excerpt:

      Start trying methylphenidate alternatives, if you can (I recently shared this updated post: Liquid and Chew “Ritalin”: Quillivant XR & Quillichew XR. And, I share important medication details in Course 2: Physical Strategies)

      You still might want to get started on that appeal, as production ramps up with the other generics. Typically, it’s necessary to at least try the covered generic — in order to report on the effect.

      g

    2. BKM- I’m in the same situation with my college age boys. I contacted insurance and asked for an override due to the shortage of generic concerta. The rep said they are approving a lot of requests as they are aware of the shortage. The dr had to write the prescription for name brand no substitutions. I was able to get it but had to pay the highest copay. The insurance may tell you it’s not in the formulary but don’t give up and continue to insist on the override.

  25. Shame on me… I had no idea this was happening amidst the holiday rushing around. In addition, my employer switched up our healthcare and scripts so we have no recourse, it seems. I had been successfully getting my daughter’s Concerta ER filled with Patriot for years now thanks to your advice and blog. Our Ped sent the script yesterday and I received a call from Express Scripts this morning saying they have no Patriot to fill it – the only generic they have now is Trigen, and I’m almost positive she’s tried that in the past with sub-par results. So, I asked her if I can switch to brand/formulary only – of course she was a pharmacist and told me to go online to check or call customer service. Sure enough our new plan does not cover the brand AT ALL. Out of pocket cash price for me is a bit over $1,300 for a 90 day supply. That won’t go against my healthcare deductible though, because it’s not covered at all. I don’t know whether to try the Trigen generic or to start the try-them-all-merry-go-round process again to find something new. She’s been on Concerta ER for 4+ years now with a couple dosage increases but works super well compared to everything else. 2023 is not starting great in our household, to say the least!

    1. Hi Misty,

      I first posted about this on 12/1, which of course was just a horrible time to begin figuring this out. The holidays approaching, kids out of school, etc.

      I encourage you to look at your Rx purchase records, to see for sure which other MPH Rx might have been tried. You might be able to use that, noting particular adverse effects, to ask for an exemption and get brand Concerta.

      But also, instead of looking at Concerta generics, I’d look at other brand MPH drugs, as I mention in the post.

      It might be that Trigen (if you haven’t already tried it) or another of the Concerta generics will work well for your child. But there’s something to be said for a brand medication, even of another type.

      With generics, there are often different colorants, binders, and fillers than with the brand; many folks with ADHD are sensitive to those. Plus, the dosage allows a wide margin of error. That’s a problem because most ADHD medications are more effective with precise dosing.

      That said, insurance coverage is increasingly eliminating brand-name Rx.

      good luck. I hope you find something better than Concerta!

      g

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