When pharmaceutical companies are developing a new drug they apply for a patent, even before they begin clinical trials. The patent is good for 20 years but by the time the drug gets tested, approved and marketed it has about 7 to 12 years left of its patent. When the patent expires, the generics become available — good for the patient’s pocketbook, bad for the brand name drug maker’s profit margins.

Recently GlaxoSmithKline’s patent on Flonase ran out (Flona$e wa$ very good to G$K), and now there are generic versions of the nasal inhalant on the market. But GSK is fighting back with Veramyst. This ‘new and improved’ version of Flonase is surely superior to the old one and must be prescribed over any available generic, or so its marketing campaign will have you (and/or your doctor) believe.

Here’s an interesting story about this phenomenon – through the eyes of a pharmacist. Pharmacists after all are the ones who carry out the doc’s orders, and bear the brunt of angry and confused patients/customers when they find out what the drugs their doctor prescribed are going to cost. Sounds like this pharmacist has diagnosed the problem: rampant drug marketing to doctors. I wonder if the customer ever got her generic flonase?