The People's Perspective on Medicine

Generic Celebrex Disappoints | How to Get Authorized Generic Celecoxib?

We have questioned the FDA's generic drug approval process on several occasions. So many people have complained about generic Celebrex that we think an authorized generic celecoxib makes sense.

The Food and Drug Administration first approved generic Celebrex (celecoxib) on May 30, 2014. Not long after that, we began getting complaints from people in pain. Many maintained that the generic celecoxib their insurance companies forced them to take was not working as well as the brand name Celebrex. Please understand that we have no love for big brand name pharmaceutical companies. We think they charge way too much for many of their patented products. That said, we are not convinced that the FDA’s generic drug approval system is all that it is cracked up to be. That’s why we have often discussed authorized generic drugs as an alternative. But getting an authorized generic celecoxib is not always easy, as this reader describes:

Q. I have suffered for years with painful arthritis and bursitis. Brand-name Celebrex relieved my pain pretty well. When I got switched to generic celecoxib it was useless.

After reading here about the Greenstone authorized generic for Celebrex, I asked my pharmacy to order it. I was told “corporate” makes those decisions, so I contacted an independent pharmacy that ordered the Greenstone product. It took three days, but I am a new person.

What Is An Authorized Generic Drug?

A. Many other readers have complained about some generic celecoxib products not providing good pain relief. An authorized generic drug is made under the exact same specifications as the brand-name pill. Sometimes it is made on the same manufacturing line.

For more details on authorized generic drugs, here is a link:

Save Money Safely With Authorized Generic Drugs

Do Health Professionals Understand Authorized Generics?

We recently heard from a reader who reported that her doctor did not know what an authorized generic drug was. Surprisingly, the pharmacists she talked to about this were also unfamiliar with the concept.

Ellen in Florida confirmed that many health professionals are clueless:

“I am a clinical pharmacist with a doctorate in my field from University of Michigan. I can attest to every one of these issues raised by patients. Authorized generics are certainly one way to go, but often they cannot be ‘had,’ as they are not in anyone’s ordering system.

“Then there’s the problem with insurance. If the authorized generic is not on the insurance company’s formulary, the insurer will not pay for it. It puts patients in a terrible position. And yes, physicians often do not know the laws regarding generic substitution. It is an education process. The laws are different in every single state, so there’s a lot of work to do!”

Authorized Generic Celecoxib:

Greenstone is a division of Pfizer, and indeed its celecoxib is the authorized generic for Celebrex. This is hardly surprising since Pfizer is the maker of Celebrex. The company wins both ways…on the brand name and on the authorized generic celecoxib.

Betty in Missouri City, Texas, was also successful obtaining an authorized generic celecoxib:

“I was taking Celebrex when the generic formulation came out. Of course, my insurance company switched me to the generic.

“I have had numerous back surgeries and Celebrex was the only thing that actually helped the pain without causing extreme gastro distress. The generic did nothing. It was useless.

“Then I read about authorized generics on your website.

“When I took my Rx to CVS, I requested Greenstone’s authorized generic celecoxib. They had to order it for me, but it made such a difference! Like others, I was to the point that I was willing to pay out of pocket for the brand name Celebrex just to have some relief. Thanks to People’s Pharmacy and authorized generics, I didn’t have to do that.”

Other Readers Report Problems with Generic Celecoxib:

We have heard from so many readers about this problem that we have lost count. The stories are sadly similar. Someone who got relief while taking Celebrex experiences pain after being switched to generic celecoxib. The FDA would likely say it is all in their heads. That is, this is a psychosomatic reaction to a perfectly fine generic formulation.

We doubt that all the generic celecoxib products on the market are a problem. Determining which work and which don’t, however, is a daunting task.

Keep in mind that many of the people who complain about celecoxib have had experience with the brand name Celebrex. They have something to compare the generic to.

Soon, however, very few people will ever experience Celebrex. That’s because a month’s supply can cost anywhere from $360 to $390 dollars. That’s well over $10 a pill and many insurance companies won’t pay for the brand name. Very few patients in pain can afford to pay out of pocket.

Read about other reports at this link:

Why is Celecoxib Not Working and What Can People Do?

You can learn more about authorized generics and how to use generic drugs wisely from our Guide to Saving Money on Medicines. This online resource is available at this link.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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When you are on medicare you have no choice but to go for generics as they won’t pay for any drug that has a generic version. I intend to check for an authorized version of my generic celecoxib.

each rx filled must indicate the NDC number which is aspecfic identifier which can use online to find out which generic manufacture made your presciption. Keep tract of this number if having a problem with a medication. Pharmacies fill presciptions with the cheapest form they can get or are provided

Teva generic celecoxib didn’t work, and when I switched to Greenstone I could tell a difference right away. I attempted to refill my Greenstone generic today, and the pharmacy says it is not available anymore. Any other generic work as well as Greenstone celecoxib?

I can also verify that the generic form of celebrex Celecoxib does not work. After reading about the greenstone brand is similar to the real celebrex called my Pharmacy to get it to give it a try. I certaianly hope it works for me. Thanks for the information I was able to get on this site!

I had been on brand name Celebrex until my insurance company switched me to the generic drug. This is not worth the money I paid for, as my pain level dramatically increased, and I also started having problems with additional joints. When I asked my insurance company for the brand name drug they refused. What’s the gain in taking something that doesn’t work, and I am unable to live a good quality of life without something!

In 2008 I took celebrex and suffered severe kidney problems, in addition, I believe the celebrex was responsible for the development of a-fib. In any event their is joint pain medication that does not have the terrible side affects of celebrex.

I suggest that patients always ask for the generic manufacturer and file a complaint with the FDA specifying the manufacturer. I think you might ask people who complain about a generic to ask the pharmacist for the manufacturer which would allow the beginning of a data base. Complain to both the FDA and to the insurance company. It is equally important to keep track of generics that work. It is interesting that CVS would order the authorized version. They are one of the biggest pharmacy managers.

Wonder if the problems are related to generics from India?

there is no difference between a brand-name drug and an authorised generic drug. The difference is only in the name. The whole concept of one working better than the other is imaginary. People blame the generic drug if there symptoms are not improving. I think it’s called psychosomatic response.

There is a vast difference between generics and brand name meds if the doseage has to be accurate eg thyroid or epileptic meds. There is also the matters of fillers which are different for generic preparations.

I have had the same experience with Celebrex and its generic. The generic had no effect and in a few days I was in a lot of pain. Now I am able to get the generic from Greenstone and it works as before. I have had this problem with some other drugs.

At first you are excited you can get your medication cheaply, but then it doesn’t work. I have found almost no generic that works in the same way as the brand name. One generic of something I had taken for years gave me violent hallucinations and insomnia, a rather unpleasant side effect.

Tony, I am a psychotherapist and can assure you that people are not merely imagining differences between drugs. These differences can be between different generics as well as between a generic and a brand name drug.

I even have had a personal experience in this regard. I was taking the drug atenolol in a generic formulation that was working well. I was then switched to another generic formulation with disastrous results. Upon returning to the original generic formulation, all was well again. It turns out that the company making the second generic wound up in serious trouble with the FDA for problems with multiple other drugs, so there could well have been problems with the drug I was taking. This would have been the manufacturer’s fault, not my imagination’s.

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