Leukemia Home > Generic Elitek

At this time, Elitek (rasburicase) is available in brand-name form only. This medication is considered a "biologic" drug, and there are regulations currently in place that prevent companies from making a generic version of these products. However, those regulations are beginning to change, and a generic Elitek product may be available at some point in the future.

Can I Buy Generic Elitek?

Elitek® (rasburicase) is a prescription medication used to prevent or treat high uric acid levels in certain people being treated for cancer. It is given as a slow injection into a vein (an intravenous, or IV, infusion).  
Elitek is made by Hospira, Inc., for sanofi-aventis U.S., LLC. The drug is considered a "biologic" medication and is, therefore, under different rules and laws than most other medications. Currently, generic biologics, including generic Elitek, are not allowed to be manufactured in the United States. In addition, Elitek is protected from generic competition by a patent that has yet to expire.

What Is a Biologic?

A biologic is a product made using live cells or organisms. The live cells or organisms are used to make a complex mixture of proteins or molecules that are then used to make a medication, blood product, vaccine, or other medical product.
Elitek is a biologic because it is an enzyme (a protein that controls chemical reactions) made using certain types of yeast and mold. This enzyme breaks down uric acid, and is normally not found in humans.
Because of the complexity of biologic medications, it can be difficult for a generic manufacturer to make an identical version of a biologic product. For this reason, generic biologics are sometimes called "biosimilars," or "follow-on biologics," instead of generics. Biosimilars or follow-on biologics are not considered identical to the currently approved brand-name product (as a generic product would be), but are similar enough to be safely substituted for it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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