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Open Access Research article

In vitro and in vivo comparison of the anti-staphylococcal efficacy of generic products and the innovator of oxacillin

Carlos A Rodriguez13, Maria Agudelo13, Andres F Zuluaga13 and Omar Vesga123*

Author Affiliations

1 Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Antioquia Medical School, Calle 62 # 52-59, Lab. 630 Medellín, Colombia

2 Professor of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Antioquia Medical School, Calle 62 # 52-59, Lab. 630 Medellín, Colombia

3 GRIPE (Grupo Investigador de Problemas en Enfermedades Infecciosas), University of Antioquia Medical School, Calle 62 # 52-59, Lab. 630 Medellín, Colombia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:153  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-153

Published: 4 June 2010



Oxacillin continues to be an important agent in the treatment of staphylococcal infections; many generic products are available and the only requirement for their approval is demonstration of pharmaceutical equivalence. We tested the assumption that pharmaceutical equivalence predicts therapeutic equivalence by comparing 11 generics with the innovator product in terms of concentration of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), minimal inhibitory (MIC) and bactericidal concentrations (MBC), and antibacterial efficacy in the neutropenic mouse thigh infection model.


The API in each product was measured by a validated microbiological assay and compared by slope (potency) and intercept (concentration) analysis of linear regressions. MIC and MBC were determined by broth microdilution according to Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute (CLSI) guidelines. For in vivo efficacy, neutropenic ICR mice were inoculated with a clinical strain of Staphylococcus aureus. The animals had 4.14 ± 0.18 log10 CFU/thigh when treatment started. Groups of 10 mice per product received a total dose ranging from 2.93 to 750 mg/kg per day administered q1h. Sigmoidal dose-response curves were generated by nonlinear regression fitted to Hill equation to compute maximum effect (Emax), slope (N), and the effective dose reaching 50% of the Emax (ED50). Based on these results, bacteriostatic dose (BD) and dose needed to kill the first log of bacteria (1LKD) were also determined.


4 generic products failed pharmaceutical equivalence due to significant differences in potency; however, all products were undistinguishable from the innovator in terms of MIC and MBC. Independently of their status with respect to pharmaceutical equivalence or in vitro activity, all generics failed therapeutic equivalence in vivo, displaying significantly lower Emax and requiring greater BD and 1LKD, or fitting to a non-sigmoidal model.


Pharmaceutical or in vitro equivalence did not entail therapeutic equivalence for oxacillin generic products, indicating that criteria for approval deserve review to include evaluation of in vivo efficacy.