When doctors or other prescribers write a specific drug manufacturer on a prescription, pharmacies will legally have fill that prescription with that particular drug manufacturer, but only IF it is available. If the drug is not available for whatever reason (e.g. national shortage, drug recall, drug has been discontinued), there is no way for the pharmacy to procure it.


In this case, checking the FDA’s Drug Shortages List, reveals that as of 5/8/2018, Mylan has discontinued manufacturing this drug. This means once the current stock of this drug has been depleted, pharmacies will no longer be able to get this drug. It is entirely possible that, at this point, there is no current drug available for Walgreens to obtain for you. So the next question is what should you do since an alternative manufacturer’s drug product is not working for you? Below are some options.


Options When a Drug Has Been Discontinued

For some patients, having a drug or particular generic manufacturer’s drug discontinued causes a lot of problems. Some suggestions on dealing with a drug discontinuation include:

  • Contact the drug manufacturer directly: Sometimes a drug manufacturer may be able to direct you to where you may be able to get a short term supply of the drug while you figure out your alternatives.  Your local Walgreens may all be out, but there are smaller pharmacies that may use different suppliers that could possibly still have some drug stock. Also, talking to the drug manufacturer will allow you to determine if this is a permanent business decision to stop making the drug.  In this case, Mylan can be contacted at 800-796-9526.


  • Discuss with your pharmacist possible options: Your pharmacist is your best bet to start the conversation on what your options are.  In this case, the Teva manufacturer is not working, but there may be other drug manufacturers of Clonazepam that may work better.  While generic manufacturer’s are required to prove their generic drugs are bioequivalent, the small differences in bioequivalency may be problematic for some patients and conditions.


  • Discuss with your doctor other therapy options: If no other drug manufacturers are available, then it is time to have a discussion with your doctor about different therapy options.  There are many other seizure medications that may work for you, but this is something that will need to be discussed with your doctor.


  • Know your drug insurance formulary: Before discussing alternatives to your current medication, make sure you check with your prescription drug insurance about any drug formulary issues.  A drug formulary is an approved list of drugs your prescription drug insurance will cover. Most prescription drug insurance companies will have an on-line reference to determine if a drug is on your formulary or not and what rate it will be covered at.  Not all prescription drug plans have drug formularies, but many do. Knowing what drugs are on your particular drug formulary and what the coverage is, can save you and your doctor a lot of time when changing to a new drug therapy.


Conclusion

It can be very frustrating to go to a pharmacy and be told that the pharmacy cannot get the drug. Sometimes this may be due to a temporary drug shortage. Other times, the drug may have been permanently discontinued by the drug manufacturer.


Having discussions with your pharmacist and doctor about other drugs available and treatment options, are the best course of action. With some patience and work, an effective alternative can be found for most patients.