Changes to the way patients can be prescribed pirfenidone

January 2022

Pirfenidone is one of two anti-fibrotic treatments currently licensed in the UK to slow the progress of fibrosis in people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It is manufactured by Roche and called Esbriet®.

Roche had exclusive rights called a ‘patent’ on pirfenidone. Until now, only Roche could manufacture and distribute pirfenidone in the UK.

Now that Roche’s patent has expired, other manufacturers can market generic versions of pirfenidone. The generic versions will be the same as the branded medicine Esbriet® because they contain the same active ingredients.

There are no generic alternatives to Esbriet® currently available in the UK, but it’s likely there will be over the coming months. Generic drugs are often used by the NHS because they're just as effective but cost less.

Dr Helen Parfrey says:

·      Currently only pirfenidone that is manufactured by Roche, called Esbriet®, is available in the UK.  

·      Any patient who is starting pirfenidone will receive this medication.

·      If you are already receiving pirfenidone(Esbriet®), you will continue to receive this medication.  

·      There will be no changes to your current medication or its method of delivery.

·      When generic medications become available in the UK, this may result in pirfenidone being supplied by a different pharmaceutical manufacturer.  Your hospital team who prescribe pirfenidone will keep you informed of any changes to your medication.

> For more information on anti-fibrotic drugs