The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of Teva Women's Health's Plan B One-Step, an emergency contraceptive that is availble over-the-counter without a prescription for women age 17 and older.
Watson Pharmaceuticals announced Friday that the FDA approved its Next Choice ONE DOSE, a lower-cost generic version that will launch "immediately," according to a press release.
Plan B One-Step sales took in $88 million for the 12 months ending May 31, according to IMS Health Data.
The generic launch of Plan B is part of a string of new low-cost generics that have been or will hit pharmacies in the next few years. That's good news for employers and organizations that help pay for drugs. [Read 9 trends in prescription plan management]
The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics expects patent expiries will peak this year, and cost-containment actions by payers will constrain branded medicine spending growth through 2016, at 0 to 3 percent.
According to the Rand Corporation, the percentage of people with high financial burden for prescription drugs—those spending more than 10 percent of income on out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs—decreased from 2003 to 2007 and had just a slight increase in 2008.
A number of other major drugs are coming off patent throughout 2011 and 2012, including Plavix and Lipitor, whose manufacturer Pfizer saw profits fall 19 percent in the first quarter.
[See also: 5 best-selling drugs coming off patent]