Originally created 03/08/06

Generic Flonase headed for drugstores



WASHINGTON - Generic versions of the popular Flonase nasal spray for allergies are headed to pharmacies after all.

Generic makers Roxane Laboratories and Par Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that they had resumed shipments of their fluticasone propionate nasal sprays, after a U.S. District Court in Maryland refused to continue blocking the sales.

The Food and Drug Administration had approved Roxane's generic last month. But Flonase maker GlaxoSmithKline immediately sued to block the competition, winning a temporary restraining order that had suspended sales. At a hearing Monday, the court refused to extend that restraining order, backing FDA's approval.

Glaxo's legal fight had stalled shipments of Roxane's competitor and Par's version as well - even though Par makes a Glaxo-authorized generic. Pharmaceutical companies often license generic versions of their own drugs to undercut generic competitors just as they come onto the market.

GlaxoSmithKline sold nearly $1.2 billion in Flonase worldwide last year. Generics typically cost 30 percent to 80 percent less than their brand-name counterparts.