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Generic Varivax

There are no generic versions of Varivax available on the market at this time. As a "biologic" medication, this vaccine is under certain laws and regulations that prevent any companies from manufacturing generic versions. However, it is predicted that new laws will allow generic biologics in the near future, in which case a generic version of the vaccine could become a possibility.

Is a Generic Version of Varivax Available?

Varivax® (varicella vaccine) is the chickenpox vaccine. It is given as two separate doses and reduces the risk of chickenpox. Although this vaccine does not prevent all cases of chickenpox, most cases that do occur are mild.
Varivax is made by Merck & Co., Inc. Like all vaccines, Varivax is considered to be a "biologic" medication and is, therefore, under different rules and laws than most other medications. At this point, generic biologics (including generic Varivax) are not allowed to be made. However, the laws are changing, and it is likely that generic biologics will be permitted in the near future.

Generic Biologics

Biologics are products that are made using live cells or organisms. The cells or organisms are used to produce certain complex proteins or molecules that are used as medications, and the medications are known as "biologics" or "biopharmaceuticals."
When the patents for regular drugs expire, generic companies can apply to make generic versions. These companies need to submit a little information proving that their product is the same as the brand-name version, but they do not have to repeat all of the human studies to show the drug to be safe and effective.

Human studies are very expensive and time-consuming, and generic medications are less expensive because they do not need all the human studies.
Currently, biologics are governed by a different set of laws. Under these laws, there is no way for a generic biologic to be approved, unless the generic manufacturer completes all of the human studies necessary to approve a brand-new drug. Because such studies are extremely expensive, it is likely that a generic biologic would not be any less expensive than the brand-name product.
Essentially, if a generic biologic were to be approved, it would not really be a generic, but a new and separate drug that would not be equivalent to the brand-name product.
However, recent legislation has aimed at changing these laws. It is predicted that new laws and regulations will allow generic biologics in the near future.
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Varivax Vaccine Information

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