Lupin pens deal for greater US access to Spiriva generic for COPD

Cost Plus Drugs will mail 30-count boxes at $361 each

Margarida Maia, PhD avatar

by Margarida Maia, PhD |

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Lupin Pharmaceuticals has penned a deal with low-cost pharmacy Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs and the COPD Foundation to broaden access for patients in the U.S. to a generic option of an approved tiotropium bromide dry inhalation powder for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Used with the LupinHaler device, Lupin’s tiotropium bromide dry powder is the only generic version of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Spiriva HandiHaler that’s available in the U.S. It’s designed to be used as a maintenance treatment for people with COPD.

Generics contain the same active substance as an already approved medication that is sold under a brand name. They are used at the same doses for the same indications, but are usually more affordable than the brand-name version.

“We believe there is a large unmet need for improved and affordable products for patients in the US,” Spiro Gavaris, president of Lupin’s U.S. Generics business, said in a company press release. “Our collaboration with Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company and the COPD Foundation reflects our intent to provide quality treatment options for patients.”

Alex Oshmyansky, CEO of Cost Plus Drugs, said that “Cost Plus Drugs, Lupin and the COPD Foundation all share a common goal of providing consumers the lowest possible price for their prescription medication.”

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LupinHaler, generic version of Spiriva HandiHaler, available in US

Generic used for same indication, at same doses, but at lower cost

Launched last year, the Cost Plus Drugs online pharmacy provides access to more than 1,000 prescription products that are delivered by mail to customers.

A box of 30 capsules of the generic version of the COPD medication is available from Cost Plus Drugs for $361.91. A similar box of Spiriva HandiHaler typically costs more than $500.

“With Cost Plus Drugs, consumers can be confident they are getting a fair price and the convenience of medication mailed directly to their homes,” Oshmyansky said.

COPD is a long-term disease in which the airways become damaged or blocked, causing persistent cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Tiotropium, the active substance of Spiriva HandiHaler and its generic version, opens the airways by blocking a type of proteins called muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the lungs.

These receptors help muscles in the lungs contract, or tighten. Blocking them causes the muscles to relax and keeps the airways open, making breathing easier and reducing the likelihood of COPD exacerbations.

The medication is supplied as a dry powder in 18-mg capsules that are inserted into an inhaler device and breathed in through the mouth into the lungs in two separate breaths, once a day.

Accessible and affordable medications are a pathway to a healthier, more empowered life for COPD patients.

Spiriva HandiHaler is approved in the U.S. as a COPD maintenance treatment and to reduce COPD exacerbations. Lupin’s generic version, approved in the country in June, has the same indication and is given at the same dose as Spiriva HandiHaler. The generic also is approved for use in Canada.

Neither Spiriva HandiHaler nor its generic version are intended as a rescue medication for sudden worsening of COPD symptoms.

“Accessible and affordable medications are a pathway to a healthier, more empowered life for COPD patients,” said Jean Wright, MD, CEO of the COPD Foundation.

“Breathing freely shouldn’t come at the cost of financial strain. Having a generic option will ensure that vital treatments remain within reach, allowing patients to prioritize their health,” Wright added.