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With escalating health expenditure and a shrinking purse, there is increased focus on the cost efficacy of still patented versus generic medications in general, and for atypical antipsychotics in particular. In a recent BMC Medicine article, Godman and colleagues presented data indicating poor uptake of the off patent atypical antipsychotic risperidone, arguing for authorities to mandate its greater use. This is under the assumption of clinical equivalence of atypical antipsychotics. This commentary argues that there are clinically meaningful differences between atypical antipsychotics and important inter-individual heterogeneity in clinical response and tolerability. Access to a broad range of atypical antipsychotics enables clinicians to tailor care, taking consideration of differential efficacy and adverse effects profile in order to meet the needs of individual patients with improved real world effectiveness of treatment. Restriction of agent choice risks detracting from optimal clinical care, with possible poorer outcomes and greater costs of care. A balance between encouraging use of cheapest in class agent and allowing access to various atypical agents for tailored care is likely to produce optimal health outcomes.Please see related article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/98.
Singh, A. B., Nierenberg, A. A., Yatham, L. N., & Berk, M. (2014). Atypical antipsychotic agents; Peas in a pod or chalk and cheese? BMC Medicine, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-014-0126-1