No. At present, there is no generic version of Champix.
The only version licensed and available to buy in the UK is the branded version, marketed by Pfizer. The patent on Champix is still active, which means that other drug companies are not yet permitted to make generic versions. (It is available under the name Chantix in the US. This is also made by Pfizer.)
Consequently, you should avoid buying ‘generic’ Champix from any website claiming to sell it, because the product cannot yet legally exist in the UK, and the ‘generic’ drug on offer is most likely a fake.
Counterfeit drugs are not clinically tested, may contain harmful ingredients, and can be dangerous.
On this page, we’ll explain where you can buy Champix from safely, and how to avoid buying fake or counterfeit versions.
What is generic Champix?
At present, there is no such thing.
The branded version of varenicline, Champix, is still under patent.
Champix was authorised for sale by the European Medicines Agency in 2006.
When a drug first goes into development, a manufacturer will apply for a patent. This gives them the sole right to produce the drug for a specific purpose, under a brand name, for a particular period.
Many patents may last for around 20 years from the start of development. But there might be as much as 10-15 years between the start of development and the drug being granted a license and approved for sale. In some cases, a drug manufacturer might apply to extend a patent, and how long it takes to perfect and release a medicine may play a factor in this.
When the patent on Champix expires, other drug companies will be able to produce varenicline as a stop smoking medication, under a different name to Champix (most likely ‘Varenicline’, which is the name of the active ingredient).
Is it safe to buy Champix online?
Yes, provided you use a registered pharmacy.
You can check to make sure a pharmacy is legitimate by looking for the GPhC logo on their website:
Clicking on the logo should take you to their entry on the Council’s register.
The website should also carry contact details for the pharmacy, as well as a trading name and address. If you can’t find these details, then you should avoid using the site.
Champix is a prescription only medicine. As a result, a doctor will need to check it is safe for you before you use it, and carry out a consultation.
Before issuing Champix to you, the pharmacy site you are using should either:
- ask you to produce a valid e-prescription for the drug from a doctor
- or provide a means for you to obtain a prescription, by offering a consultation with a doctor.
If a site simply offers Champix ‘no prescription required’, then it is operating outside the law, and should be avoided.
When are ‘generic versions’ unsafe?
When they haven’t been tested and approved by the MHRA or EMA, and therefore cannot legally exist.
If a drug cannot legally exist, then it has to be manufactured outside of regulations, and is very likely a fake.
There are several reasons why you should avoid buying fake or counterfeit versions of Champix, or any other medicine:
- They might contain ingredients which are not safe to consume, and put your health at risk
- They might not contain the ingredients advertised, and therefore not work at all
- And even if they do contain the ingredients they say they do, it’s unlikely that the seller, if they’re providing illicit medicines, will carry out all the necessary checks to ensure it is safe for you to take.
How can I tell when Champix is genuine?
Here is how you can recognise genuine Champix medication:
- Champix tablets should be in a branded Pfizer box.
- Champix tablets are only available in two different doses: 0.5mg and 1mg.
- Champix 0.5mg tablets are oval, white, film-coated and are marked with Pfizer and CHX 0.5.
- Champix 1mg tablets are oval, light blue, film-coated and are marked with Pfizer and CHX 1.0.
- Any medication you receive should arrive intact and show no signs of tampering.
- The treatment should arrive with a branded patient information leaflet.
You can find more information about Champix on our product page.