WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic versions of the blockbuster antidepressant Cymbalta, offering lower-cost access to one of the most widely prescribed treatments for depression, anxiety and other disorders.
Cymbalta is Eli Lilly & Co. Inc.'s best-selling drug and posted 2012 sales of $4.7 billion, making it the fifth-highest selling medication in the world. The drug's patent expired Wednesday, clearing the way for the launch of cheaper versions of the drug from generic drugmakers.
Generic drugs often sell for a fraction of the price of the original branded product.
Besides depression, Cymbalta is also prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder, diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia and forms of chronic pain.
The FDA said it approved six generic versions of the pill from drugmakers including Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., Sun Pharma Global and Teva Pharmaceuticals.