On February 1, 2016, the commercial launch of the generic version of imatinib mesylate (Gleevec), originally for CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukemia), was approved by the FDA and became available for the first time in the United States through Sun Pharmaceuticals.

In response to this transition, the LRG provided an educational Webinar to the CML and GIST communities on March 18th entitled “Generic Imatinib: Gaining Perspective.”

A panel of experts provided their insight, expertise and perspectives about generics. A question and answer session followed the presentation.

Presenters included:

Michelle Durborow
Patient Registry Director
The Life Raft Group

Bill Hinshaw
Executive Vice President
Novartis US Oncology

Dr. Jonathan Trent
Co-Director Musculoskeletal Center Sarcoma Medical Research Program, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Melissa  Simpson
Senior Program Manager in the Center for Benefits Access at the National Council on Aging

Over 100 people participated in this event. An overview about generics was presented including important concepts such as bioequivalence, bioavailability and the approval process of generics. Participants were interested to learn if there was any published data comparing brand Gleevec and generic imatinib. However, there is a lack of appropriate high-quality randomized trials between generics and originator medicines in published literature.

Novartis provided information about their access and support programs for both the CML and GIST communities, sharing with participants that commercially insured patients could pay only a $10 co-pay for a 30-day supply of Gleevec. Finally, for those participants who were Medicare beneficiaries, they received an overview of the Medicare Part D plan and resources of where to go for more assistance.

We wanted to give a special thank you to the National CML Society for helping to promote this event and encouraging both disease groups to come together around a common issue.

To read more about generics, visit our website: www.liferaftgroup.org/generics/