Can I Buy Generic Vectibix?
) is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of colorectal cancer
(cancer that starts in the colon
or rectum). It is approved for use in people whose cancer has spread after treatment with other chemotherapy drugs.
Vectibix is manufactured by Amgen, Inc. It is considered a "biologic" medicine. Biologic medicines are under different laws and regulations than most other prescription medications. As a biologic, Vectibix is largely protected from generic competition, and there are no generic versions currently available.
What Is a Biologic?
A biologic product is a medication that is made using living cells or organisms. These living cells or organisms are used to make a complex mixture of proteins or molecules, which are then used to make medications or vaccines.
Vaccines, blood products, and gene therapies are examples of biologic products. Vectibix is a biologic because it is a monoclonal antibody, which means it is a laboratory-made version of an immune system protein (an antibody).
Because biologics are so complex, it can be difficult for a generic manufacturer to make an identical version of a currently available biologic product. For this reason, generic versions of biologics could not be made by generic manufacturers and biologics were largely protected from generic competition.
However, the regulations are currently changing to allow generic manufacturers to make medicines that are similar enough to currently available biologics to be considered generic versions. These generic versions are sometimes referred to as "biosimilars" or "follow-on biologics." Biosimilars or follow-on biologics are not considered identical to the currently approved brand-name product, but are similar enough to be safely substituted for it.