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Zyrtec Generic - Canadians please help.

23 replies [Last post]
By Rae on Sat, 11-15-03, 17:51

I am looking into ordering Zyrtec from Canada Rx. In USA we don't have a generic available (Zyrtec is not OTC), but online it offers the generic - Ceterizine? Has anyone used this? Have you seen any difference in it and the name brand? Please let me know - need to order soon. Thanks!

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By Rae on Mon, 11-17-03, 16:58

One last plea - anyone???? I am a little reluctant to order 100 pills with no testimonials.

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By erik on Mon, 11-17-03, 17:19

Hi Rachel,

I buy this drug all the time but have only bought the name brand ("Reactine" made by Pfizer) when I go to the pharmacy - I have never bought the generic brand. There are a lot of generic brands on the shelf too (Shopper's Drug Mart Life brand, for example).

In Canada, the drug is not called "Zyrtec" so maybe that is why you have no replies yet. Canadians may not know what "Zyrtec" is. In Canada, it is called "Reactine".

Has anyone in Canada bought generic "Reactine"? Next time I run out, I will buy a pack of Shopper's Drug Mart generic brand ("Life") and see how it works. Although I only use this during pollen season in the spring/summer so it may be a while until I need to buy more.

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By Booklady on Tue, 11-18-03, 14:54

I too would like the answer to this. I wanted to order online but wasn't sure of the Canadian name. The only problem is my kids take the Zytec syrup, since they're so little, and I don't see any syrup listed.


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By Cayley's Mom on Tue, 11-18-03, 16:30

Hi Rae

Erik's right - I, for one, didn't know what Zyrtec was. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

I have posted your question in the Health section of a Canadian website I post at. There are a few chemists and nurses who post there, plus the odd pharmacist, so I anticipate a response soon. Hope to have an answer for you posthaste.

Carolyn [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By Cayley's Mom on Tue, 11-18-03, 17:53

Hi Rae - I just got 2 answers from some chemist pals of mine. There is no difference at all between name-brand drugs and generic drugs - they absolutely MUST perform the same function. They only difference there *may* be is in colour, fillers, and other inert substances. So, to answer your question - there is no difference.

I've copied and pasted their explanations for further clarification:

Sandra says:

It costs about $400,000,000.00 to get from the computer screen to the pill in your hand. This includes bench work, animal trials, formulation, human trials, pattents, registration.

Patents are applied as late as possible and normally prior to human testing. Patents last 15 years and human testing is a minimum of 10 years.

So the company has 5 years with patent protection to recoup $400,000,000.00!

During that 5 years, the generic company is formulating its own pill with the same active. They have access to the active information, but no information on the excipients (inerts).

Generic drugs must do a bio-equivalence study and registration. The cost is CHEAP at about $100,000,000.00 to produce the final registered product.

The generic company must prove that their pill treats the same condition in the exact same manner as the brand name and that it is eliminated from the body in the exact same manner.

Does that answer your question?



Barb says:

Generic drugs are essentially the same as their brand-name counterparts. The makers of brandname drugs often charge more to cover their advertising costs (like you said) or because some consumers are willing to pay more because they think they are getting a better quality product.

The level of testing that is conducted to prove the "sameness" of the generic depends on the actual drug. In the case of Reactine, since it is a "New Drug", studies with human subjects were done to show that the performance of the brand name and generic products is the same.

The only thing that might differ between generics and brand name is the non-medicinal ingredients, like the colour, flavouring, and fillers.

We buy generics almost all the time, except for NeoCitran... he says the generic version tastes terrible!

The main reason makers of brand name drugs charge more... these are the companies that "discovered" the drug, and they charge big bucks to cover the costs associated with R&D. All that goes out the window when their patent runs out and the generics arrive on the market.

Up until recently, Reactine was a prescription medication in the US. It was switched from Rx to OTC in Canada quite a few years ago. My (American) sister used to stock up when she came to visit.

Not sure if the OTC switch in the US has caused prices to come down a bit there.

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By Rae on Tue, 11-18-03, 20:52

Oh, thanks so much Erik and Carolyn. I never thought the name would be different - thought everyone was just ignoring me. Zyrtec is also made by Pfizer.

Carolyn, I'm going to look if Reactine is sold here OTC as the literature you past on says. The RX for Zyrtec here is $63 for 30 pills, but CanadaRX offers the generic for $47 for 100 pills.

Booklady, I haven't seen it in a liquid while searching for discounted prices. Good luck. The pills are very tiny and do come in 5 mg strength - don't know how little your little ones are.
Thanks again,

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By Cayley's Mom on Tue, 11-18-03, 21:24

Glad to help, Rae - anytime. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Booklady - Cayley has had Reactine syrup, so it is available and should be available on-line. There should also be a generic equivalent. I wonder if you broadened your search slightly you would discover the equivalent? I've never ordered drugs on-line so I'm out of my depth with regard to appropriate sites, etc.


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By Booklady on Wed, 11-19-03, 14:57

Caley's Mom;
Thanks for the information. I will be doing a search very soon. Since 2 of my children that need Zyrtec are only 4 and 2, the syrup is essential. Tablets won't work for us yet!


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By choguy on Wed, 11-19-03, 15:46

Hi All,

Working for a large drug company as well as being a 20 year user of another medication, I have to comment on this:

1) Generic drugs must have the same active ingredient at the same potentcy as the name-brand drug
2) Generics may use different fillers, preservatives, and stabilizers or different concentrations of those items
3) Those different stabilzers can effect the potentcy of the main ingredient. This may not be seen in clinical studies but only after the generic reaches the general population.
4) Case in point - the first generic version of the medication I take was withdrawn from the market after nine months when it was discovered that it was not as potent as the name-brand drug. The cause: a specific preservative was interfering with drug absorbtion in a subset of patients (I was in that subset).
5) That said - I am currently taking the second generation generic of my drug with no problems.
6) Many generic drug makers are very small on thin operating budgets and are more likely to cut corners. This happened to a local generic company a few years back - they were closed down by the FDA for several months.

I just want everyone to be aware that while >98% of generics are fine, there have been problems with them in the past.

I'm sorry Carolyn, but what you and your second friend suggest about the high cost of drugs is incorrect: drug companies do not charge more to re-coup advertising/marketing costs. The R&D budget of most companies is 3-10x greater than their marketing budget as shown in companies' financial statements. What Carolyn's first friend's comments are more true to the cause.

At any rate, I'm sure the generic of Zrytec will be just fine. Best of luck finding it!


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By erik on Wed, 11-19-03, 16:10

Instead of doing a Smarties exchange with Americans, maybe we'll start doing Zyrtec/Reactine exchanges? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

At Shoppers Drug Mart I often get the name brand (Pfizer) of cetrizine (Zyrtec/Reactine) for $14.99 for 30 pills, which would be US$11.50 for 30 pills (38 cents US each)... the Shoppers Drug Mart generic brand is even cheaper.

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By Rae on Wed, 11-19-03, 17:29

That exchange might be a good idea. @$39/100 pills. Much better than even the CanadaRX price. NOT FAIR!!

Thanks for all the information. I feel much better about ordering.

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By Cayley's Mom on Wed, 11-19-03, 18:11

Hi Troy

Barb, the second person who posted, works as a chemist (has a Masters in Chemistry) for Health Canada in the "new drug" department. She is someone I know in real-life - not just on the internet, just fyi. I'm going to send your post to her - I know she'll want the opportunity to defend herself. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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By Cayley's Mom on Wed, 11-19-03, 19:29

OK to clarify Barb's post - she agrees with Troy that she shouldn't have emphasized the advertising costs over the R&D costs. R&D definitely makes up the lion's share of the price difference between name brands and generics, with marketing playing a minor role.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify that, Troy - Barb's response to me was actually in 2 parts: perhaps she didn't mean the first part to be posted?

Carolyn [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By erik on Wed, 11-19-03, 19:32

Quote:Originally posted by choguy:
[b]I'm sorry Carolyn, but what you and your second friend suggest about the high cost of drugs is incorrect: drug companies do not charge more to re-coup advertising/marketing costs.[/b]

Hi Choguy and Carolyn,

I have noticed on tv that there are tons of television commercials for name brand anti-histimines ... Claritan, Reactine, etc... but there are no commercials for the generic brands. The pollen report at [url="http://www.theweathernetwork.com"]www.theweathernetwork.com[/url] is sponsored by Claritan as another example.

So wouldn't part of the extra cost of the name brand anti-histimines be going towards marketing/advertising them (ie: the Reactine and Claritan commercials that are on tv all the time...). Although maybe the majority of the price difference is due to R&D. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

I ahve never seen any advertising or marketing for generic brands of anti-histimines.

hmm.. this reminds me of the old debates we used to have.. in one corner we have Carolyn.. in another corner we have Choguy.. hehe [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by erik (edited November 19, 2003).]

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By choguy on Thu, 11-20-03, 03:43

To Erik, Carolyn, and any other interested parties:

I have continued this on the "Off Topic" boards (generic vs. name-brand drugs). Yes, the good old days of lively debate and posts full of exclamation points!!!!! Those were fun. Actually, despite our battles and opposite view points, Carolyn and I are friends (right Carolyn????).


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By Cayley's Mom on Thu, 11-20-03, 21:23

Quote:Originally posted by choguy:
[b] Actually, despite our battles and opposite view points, Carolyn and I are friends (right Carolyn????).


Right!!!! Or, should I say... left! LOL.

Back to the drug costs. We have always had some type of drug plan (we're self-employed and pay through the nose for it, but it's worth it) but right now we're between plans. The new one hasn't kicked in yet but will be retroactive back to November 1st. I got the price on 1 month of Accutane for my son, 1 Ventolin and 1 Flovent puffer for Cayley and 1 7-day container of Biaxin, also for Cayley. None of these drugs are generic. Grand total? $350. Whoa, that's a chunk of change! And Canadians have [i]better[/i] drug prices, according to that site, Rae? Eeps, I can't imagine how Americans can afford any of it without some kind of insurance plan.


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By Claire on Thu, 11-20-03, 23:28

We use Zyrtec for my daughter and love the results. She is doing better than ever. Her sneezing has stopped and her eyes are better. that is the pill $40.00 American money. I have really good insurance"OR should I say my DH does". take care claire

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By erik on Sat, 11-22-03, 16:48

raised for Deegan [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By kkeene on Sun, 11-23-03, 05:00

Hi I am a bit confussed here
My son takes Zyrtec (in the us) however we are from Canada & I was told by the Pharm. in canada that Zyrtec is not the same as Reactine.
So how do you know if it is or not.???
I think I would be asking my Dr what else I could use if I could not afford the other.

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By erik on Sun, 11-23-03, 17:28

Quote:Originally posted by kkeene:
[b]Hi I am a bit confussed here
My son takes Zyrtec (in the us) however we are from Canada & I was told by the Pharm. in canada that Zyrtec is not the same as Reactine. [/b]

The drug is the same, and it is made by Pfizer. It is called [i]cetirizine HCl [/i]

For some reason, it is called Zyrtec in the USA and Reactine in Canada.

Maybe the same reason that KFC has fries in Canada, but no fries in the USA? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

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By Rae on Sun, 11-23-03, 23:51

I haven't asked the Dr., but I, like Eric, believe they are the same. I will ask, though. Actually, kkeene, it is not affordability. My dh's work pays everything the medical insurance doesn't pay - deductilbe, etc. (including our full premium). We actually have a Credit Card to pay all our medical - dh's work pays the bill. The insurance rep. is the one who suggested we try CanadaRX to save dh's work some money.

Carolyn, yes, drugs are cheaper in Canada. There is not goverment control over the price in the US and lots of incentives provided by the drug companies for the Dr. to prescibe their med. US goverment is currently considering blocking RX meds. across the border - I'm sure the US drug companies are the ones pushing for that.

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By berryj on Thu, 04-18-13, 12:10

Good post

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By calmom on Sun, 07-07-13, 00:07

Not sure why this was bumped up. Zyrtec is widely available OTC now (2013). Generic centrizine can be purchased any drugstore. We have used both the generic and brand name and they seem equally effective. Remember laying out a ton of money when my kiddo was small and it was prescription only, as it was "off the formulary" and the substitute was not good for him.

Now if there was only a generic epi-pen....

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