Several of Symbicort's patents have expired, but no generic versions are available yet. Because the active ingredient of any drug is often referred to as its "generic name," many people are under the impression that budesonide and formoterol are generic forms of Symbicort. However, these are actually the active ingredients of the drug and are not generic Symbicort.
Symbicort is manufactured by AstraZeneca. It is currently under the protection of a patent that prevents any generic Symbicort from being manufactured in the United States.
Several Symbicort patents have already expired. However, no generic versions are yet available. This strongly suggests that one or more later-expiring patents are still protecting the drug from generic competition.
The next Symbicort patent is set to expire in December 2012. This is the earliest possible date that generic versions of the drug could become available. However, other circumstances could come up that extend the exclusivity period beyond 2012. This could include such things as other patents for specific Symbicort uses or lawsuits. Once the patent expires, several companies will likely begin manufacturing a generic Symbicort drug.
No -- budesonide and formoterol are the active ingredients in Symbicort (and other medications), but are not generic versions of it. What can be confusing is that, oftentimes, the active ingredient of any drug is referred to as the "generic name." The generic name is different from a generic version of a medicine. In order for there to be a generic version of a medicine, the original medicine must have gone off-patent and another company besides the original manufacturer must make the product.