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Uceris (budesonide) is expensive. How you can cut costs.

Answered by Rebecca Farley | Reviewed by a licensed U.S. pharmacist | Posted September 03, 2020
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Budesonide ER, brand name Uceris, is among many drugs sold in the U.S. with an embarrassingly high price tag. The drug, which treats inflammatory bowel disease caused by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, sells for an average of $72 per pill. And the generic isn’t much cheaper, selling for $56 per pill. Uceris works by decreasing swelling in the digestive tract of patients with Crohn's disease.

The FDA approved budesonide first in 1997 as a pill called Entocort for AstraZeneca, which still manufactures the drug. The brand name Entocort, which is a separate product from the Salix Pharmaceuticals-made Uceris, is slightly cheaper than Uceris, selling for an average of $25 per pill. If you are looking for oral route budesonide, you will find the cheapest version is generic Entocort purchased from PharmacyChecker-accredited online pharmacies.

The confusing part here is Uceris itself, which earned FDA approval in 2013. This approval was ever-so-slightly different: Uceris was indicated for “the induction of remission in patients with active, mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.” Entocort, meanwhile, was approved solely for treatment of Crohn’s disease.The company Santarus manufactured the pill version of Uceris until Salix Pharmaceutical purchased Santarus in 2013. The FDA approved Uceris rectal foam, an entirely different form of the same drug, in 2014. Uceris rectal foam treats the same conditions but via the anal route.

Comparing Uceris (budesonide ER) Prices

Drug Strength Quantity U.S. Average Retail Price Lowest International Pharmacy Price Percentage Savings
Uceris (budesonide ER) 9 mg 30 tablets $2,148.14 $283.99 87%
Budesonide ER (generic) 9 mg 30 tablets $1,675.22 N/A N/A
Uceris Rectal Foam (budesonide) 2 mg/dose 28 doses $806.45 $238.99 70%
Entocort (budesonide) 3 mg 30 tablets $763.97 $60.37 92%
Budesonide (generic) 3 mg 30 tablets $466.62 $12.87 97%

Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on GoodRx.com. PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price based on availability at pharmacies near New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com.

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Is there a generic version of Uceris?

Yes, sort of. The FDA approved a generic version of budesonide ER tablets in 2018. Teva Pharmaceuticals now manufactures the generic pill. Entocort also has a generic alternative. There is not yet a generic version of the rectal foam.

What is the difference between Entocort and Uceris?

Entocort is a slightly smaller dose at just 3 mg, while Uceris is a more generous 9 mg. This may be because AstraZeneca sold the rights to Entocort to Perrigo, an Irish pharmaceutical company, in 2015. Perrigo still manufactures Entocort.

Compare Entodcort Prices

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Is there a Uceris patient assistance program I can use?

Salix Pharmaceuticals operates a Uceris savings card, which may get you down to a copay as little as $25. This would be for the rectal foam, which does not have any competitors in the market as of yet. At a PharmacyChecker-accredited international pharmacy, the rectal foam costs about $250 for thirty doses of the foam.

Why is Uceris so expensive?

Uceris is a case of “evergreening,” a popular pharma tactic that allows drug companies to enjoy profits from new drugs a little longer. Companies request new applications or new forms of the drug -- such as extended release, or, say, a rectal foam -- so the drug can enjoy longer market exclusivity.

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What are the side effects of Uceris (budesonide)?

According to its label, the most common adverse effects associated with Uceris are as follows:

"...headache, nausea, decreased blood cortisol, upper abdominal pain, fatigue, flatulence, abdominal distension, acne, urinary tract infection, arthralgia, and constipation.”

Where is Uceris manufactured?

Uceris tablets sold in the U.S. are made in Italy.

 
 

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