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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Inappropriate Fosamax Promotion

Merck Sharpe & Dohme Ltd (MSD) have been asked to write to healthcare professionals to provide a corrective statement regarding their recent promotional activity of Fosamax 70mg Once Weekly (Alendronate).

The basis of the promotion had been that bioavailability (the rate and extent to which the drug is absorbed) is not the same between Fosamax and the recently released generic products. There was also an inferred link between this difference and the likelihood of side effects, specifically oesophageal injury.

In the corrective statement they point out that there is no link between incidence of oesophageal injury and bioavailability. Also, it should be noted that if there had been dramatic differences in bioavailability between Fosamax and the new generic products that product licenses would not have been granted to these new generic products.

Action: Prescribers should continue to prescribe Alendronate as generic where indicated. There is no reason to prescribe this product by brand.

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