The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Abbott’s announcement today about Vicodin

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:26 pm on Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today it was announced the Vicodin would be reformulating in response to the changes the FDA mandated requested with regards to acetaminophen contents in tablets.  It came as no surprise to me however that they elected to use an APAP dose that is unique ( 300mg) and in doing so, will require pharmacists who receive a prescription  for Vicodin  ( and please note, it is spelled Vicodin…not Vicodan) to dispense the branded product.  I am sure this will cause much angst to PBM’s all over the place who will have to shell out more cash for the billions of rx’s yearly written “vicodin”.   I am also quite sure that new Vicodin X/300mg  will be phenomenally expensive to BUY but phenomenally cheap to MAKE, hence a potential cash cow for Abbott.

Trust me,  I have no sympathy for PBM’s anywhere, but since everything is all about the money to them, anytime they have to pay MORE for something, they will surely pay LESS on something else or cut benefits to their subscribers, or say its not covered at all.

Therefore, I say REVOLT.  If you get a script written for “vicodin-5”  after whatever day the official changeover will be, ask the MD to change it to 5/325mg generic.  Readily available and cheap for all concerned.

And, doctors,  write your scripts with the strength spelled out  5/325, 7.5/325 or 10/325.  You will be doing your patients pocketbook a huge favor!

Id be happy if Abbot never sold one single bottle of the stuff.




Comment by Dustin

May 29, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

Actually, PBMs make more money on generic drugs (just like pharmacies), so they’d much rather people get the generic version. Plan sponsors (which make the decisions you’re alluding to in the second paragraph, by the way) also generally prefer the generic drugs.of course they do, thats why I suggested that they use 325mg in stead of the 300mg which will be un-substitutable until it also goes generic at some time in the future.
There are some poor financial incentives (manuf rebates + clients that think manuf rebates are awesome), but in general that holds true.
Sadly, this is not the first time drug manufacturers have pulled this type of crap, and it won’t be the last.agreed. seen it a lot over the years. a minor tweak. huge cost ramifications…

Comment by Tracy

May 29, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

I thought xodol was the 5/300 hydro/apap… hmm now i gotta look tomorrow. I stinking hate all the norco/lortab/lorcet/vicoden/vicoden es/lortab hc out there. it only helps the junkies.ive never heard of xodol, so I looked it up, it appears to be 10/300. is it expensive ??

Comment by Dr. Grumpy

May 29, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

I switched to generic 5/325 2 years ago for this reason. I hate the BS.

Comment by Dr. Grumpy

May 29, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

Uh, I mean, um I switched my PATIENTS to the 5/325. Yeah, that’s it.

Comment by Matt

May 30, 2012 @ 5:34 am

Do you have a link for this announcement? I couldn’t find anything on Abbotts web site or google.
Thank You!Ill see what I can do. I tried to re print in in the body but it overflowed the edges…it came in an email from US Pharmacist e-connect.
Ill forward you the email….pc

Comment by pharmacychick

May 30, 2012 @ 6:49 am

Here: for all to read, is the body of the email i received from E-connect from US Pharmacist


Introduction of newly reformulated VICODIN® (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, USP) and discontinuation of current formulations of VICODIN.

Dear Healthcare Provider:
On January 13, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked drug manufacturers to limit the strength of acetaminophen in prescription drug products, including combination acetaminophen and opioid products, to no more than 325 mg per dosage unit. The FDA has stated that limiting the amount of acetaminophen per dosage unit in prescription products may reduce the risk of severe liver injury from acetaminophen overdosing.1 (Please visit the FDA website for more information on acetaminophen dosing:

Introduction of New Formulations
The FDA requested this change be effected by January 2014. Abbott is complying with this directive ahead of the FDA’s requested date and will introduce new formulations of VICODIN® (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, USP) with reduced acetaminophen content in the third quarter of 2012.

In the third quarter of 2012, VICODIN will be available in the following new formulations:
• VICODIN® (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, USP) 5 mg/300 mg
• VICODIN ES® (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, USP) 7.5 mg/300 mg
• VICODIN HP® (hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, USP) 10 mg/300 mg

Discontinuation of Current Formulations
In order to facilitate this transition, beginning immediately, Abbott is discontinuing the manufacturing and distribution of the current formulations of VICODIN. This is intended to provide sufficient time for product returns, which may minimize confusion and the potential for dispensing errors when new formulations are introduced. Please see below for additional detail on how to return any unexpired VICODIN you may have in stock.

In addition, Abbott is proactively communicating with prescribers about the changes to VICODIN formulations.

How to Return Product
Return of VICODIN products is voluntary. If you choose to return the VICODIN products listed below, Abbott will issue credit to you through your wholesaler for full or partial bottles of product in original Abbott containers that have not expired. No special authorizations from Abbott are required.

Returns should be sent to:
6101 North 64th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53218

If you have any further questions regarding returns of this product, you may call Abbott Customer Service at 1-800-255-5162.

Considerations for Healthcare Providers
In the interim period between the discontinuation of the current VICODIN formulations and the introduction of the new VICODIN formulations, please work with your patients to ensure their pain is managed with the appropriate medication.

The reformulation and discontinuation only affect the VICODIN family of products (distributed by Abbott Laboratories).

Comment by Matt

May 30, 2012 @ 7:25 am

Thank You!

Comment by Katie

May 30, 2012 @ 9:41 am

I thought Vicodin was 5/500….Norco is 5/325…Still ridiculous though. I recommend that MD’s be sure to just write for the generic (hydrocodone/apap) and stick it to Abbott!

Comment by texaspharmacychica

May 30, 2012 @ 9:44 am

Thanks for the heads up. It is Auralgan all over again. Xodol is expensive, so is the generic.

Comment by texaspharmacychica

May 30, 2012 @ 10:37 am

To see the annoucement in all its glory

Comment by bcmigal

May 31, 2012 @ 8:28 am

I forwarded the e-connect link to my PIC and he just did not get it….yet! He will when there will be no “link” to a generic and he has to call the MD on every Vicodin prescription. Maybe our company will add that to the “metrics”.

Comment by PharmGamerChick

May 31, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

it’s bad enough that we have to deal with vicodin 5/325 or norco 5/500 that doctors write and you have to call and ask them what they meant 😛I dont call the doctors. I dispense based on the strength they wrote.

Comment by Steve Munoz

October 2, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

New song and Vicodin video causing quite a stir on the Internet. Check out the Killer Country

Comment by Joe D

December 6, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

I agree with everything pharmacychick wrote. In my pharmacist practice I call doctors to change “Vicodin 5/300” (what a joke!) to Norco 5/325 generic. I also train pharmacist interns and teach them about these pharmaceutical “sales enhancement” methods.

I also am no friend of the PBMs but in this case hope they push back against paying the criminally high prices for the “new” Vicodin. Shame on you FDA for allowing this travesty!

Comment by Jim

December 20, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

Hi I am prescribed vicodin 5/500 120x/month for my arthritis

I have a question, I wanted something with less acepthemanophen and was prescribed vicodin 5/325, I went to the pharmacy and they said there was no such thing, so I told my doctor and he prescribed me vicodin 5/300 , they are EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. My question is how come the pharmacy said there is no such thing as vicodin 5/325 , and also is there a generic version of 5/300 ? Is it because on the script my doctor writes “vicodin” and not hydrocodone ? Please help me I can’t spend too much money on my medicationyour pharmacist was being a jerk, or an idiot, not sure what. Dr’s write vicodin 5/325 all the time even tho technically there really is NO SUCH THING. its actually NORCO 5/325 and its available Generic everywhere. Why your pharmacist didnt just fill hydrocodone/apap 5/325 generic is beyond me. I guess he/she wanted to be snarky or a pain I guess. shame on him or her.

Comment by Deb

January 10, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

There is generic Vicodin 5/325. It seems stronger than the 5/500. They are white with pink speckles on them..smaller than 5/500. Sorry I pay 5.00 with insurance …

Comment by Stephen

February 26, 2013 @ 3:06 am

I have a torn something or other in my knee and its been really painful and Im next to immobile. Today I was prescribed vicodin 5/300. I dont have insurance and it cost me over 100 to fill the rx. Thats more than a dollar a pill, these people must make a killing, and I know they are killing if you need a refill ask for old Vicodin
It has a generic and its cheap!!!

Comment by Steven

September 23, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

I was reading that even the 5/325 will be gone soon, is that the case? My pharmacist looked it up and the Vicodin 5/300 will be over 100 bucks for my 4 per day. I don’t have insurance and need an option not over about 20-30 bucks a month. The 5/500 generic was only 10 bucks. Sigh I can deal with a bit more a month but certainly not over I haven’t heard that 5/325 will be gone but I will check on it!

Comment by Denise

February 2, 2014 @ 1:10 am

Picked up my reformulated Vicodin yesterday, it was 10 times more expensive than the original time ask your doc for the stuff that has 325g Tylenol instead of 300. Trust me.

Comment by Teri

February 23, 2014 @ 11:12 am

I just found out about this change in the vicodin and got the 5 500 just beginning of this month. But I’ve also found a way to have the same dosage as 5 500, I just cut a Tylenol into a third and that gives me approximately the same amount. I do wish they quit doing this, first they took away my darvocet N 100 and now they’re messing around with my vicodin. And I can’t stand tramadol it does weird things to me.I’ve been taking both of these for decades and all of a sudden they decide something’s wrong with it.I do wish the FDA would find out about stuff before they put it on the market instead of decades later.

Comment by Steven

March 21, 2014 @ 9:18 am

Just an update from my Doc and Pharmacist 5/325 will not be going away any time soon. There was some confusion going on with what drug reps were telling the doctor and suppliers were telling the pharmacist. However at this point no plans to get rid of 5/325. Yippee.

Comment by Shawn

October 12, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

Currently in the emergency room and my girlfriend was prescribed hydrocodone 5/300. Noticed the 300 looked a bit odd, did some research and came across this site and because of all of you, she is getting it changed to 5/325. Thanks for the heads up everyone!!!

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