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Why is Xifaxan so Expensive?

Monday 31 May 2021
Gastrointestinal Disorders
4 minute(s) read

Table of Contents


I. The Patent on Xifaxan

II. No Generic Version

III. What Does Xifaxan Treat?

IV. Where to Buy Discount Xifaxan


The Patent on Xifaxan

Xifaxan (rifaximin) is a drug marketed by the company Salix Pharmaceuticals. This medication is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hepatic encephalopathy, and traveler’s diarrhea. [1] Xifaxan can be helpful in treating and preventing recurrences of these health conditions, but this drug can be costly. But why is Xifaxan so expensive?

To understand the reasons behind the high cost of Xifaxan, it is important to start with its patent. The rights to market Xifaxan are held solely by Salix Pharmaceuticals. Xifaxan is protected by 27 patents and has 250 patent family members in 39 countries. [2]

Analysis of these regulatory protections shows that rifaximin cannot be sold as a generic drug in the United States until 2029 when the final patent on Xifaxan expires. But you are in luck because it is available in Canada. Canadian online pharmacies source medications from distribution centers worldwide, so discount Xifaxan and generic rifaximin is available through Canadian Med Center. [3]

a pharmacy store sign

No Generic Version

In the meantime, the extensive patents on Xifaxan mean that there are no generic versions of rifaximin available on the market. It is also not always easy to produce a generic version of the drug because pharmaceutical companies need to demonstrate that the generic version is biologically equivalent to the brand-name version to be approved by the FDA. The way around this roadblock is to run clinical studies to show the efficacy of the generic version, but companies tend not to choose this method. [3]

This likely means that patients will have to wait until 2028 to buy generic rifaximin. If approved by the FDA, the company known as Teva’s Actavis Generics will be able to begin marketing for their generic rifaximin beginning January 1, 2028. Still, the final patent on Xifaxan does not expire until 2029, so other generic versions may not be available until much later. [3]

Essentially, the patent on Xifaxan and the subsequent lack of generic versions is the reason for this drug’s high price point. There are not many other medications to treat the conditions that Xifaxan treats, so the demand for this drug is another factor that drives up its price. For now, the best way to buy Xifaxan at a discount price or is through an online Canadian pharmacy like Canadian Med Center. At Canadian Med Center, generic Xifaxan is also available at a much cheaper price than brand-name Xifaxan. 

What Does Xifaxan Treat?

As mentioned above, Xifaxan is used to treat traveler’s diarrhea, IBS, and hepatic encephalopathy. Traveler’s diarrhea is commonly caused by E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines. The active ingredient in Xifaxan is rifaximin, an antibiotic that can fight bacterial infections like those caused by E. coli. Rifaximin does not work like many other types of antibiotics. Instead, it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed into your bloodstream. [4]  

a person clutching their stomach area with an illustration of the digestive system overlayed

Xifaxan may not be used to treat all the symptoms of IBS, but those with IBS-D may benefit from this drug. IBS-D is irritable bowel syndrome with the main symptom of diarrhea. IBS-D often causes frequent abdominal pain, frequent bowel movements, and loose stools. IBS causes the colon to be more sensitive than usual, so a bacterial infection is more likely to occur in those with IBS. [5]

Finally, hepatic encephalopathy is a nervous system disorder caused by toxins that travel to the brain. This condition occurs when toxins are not properly filtered from the body due to severe liver disease. Toxins that build up in the blood and brain can cause symptoms of confusion, anxiety, irritability, and other forms of cognitive impairment. The success rate of hepatic encephalopathy treatment depends on the severity of the condition, but Xifaxan can cause the body to produce fewer toxins by stopping bacterial growth. [6]

Where to Buy Discount Xifaxan

Purchasing Xifaxan from your local pharmacy can be very expensive. The good news is that online Canadian pharmacies such as Canadian Med Center have streamlined the ordering process to connect you with the cheapest source of certified medications available. By ordering online on our drug page, you can get discount Xifaxan delivered directly to your home. Canadian Med Center can help you save time and money, so fill your prescription with us today.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.