Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is no longer under patent, but a generic version has not yet been marketed. "If one were
introduced in the future, it would be likely to lower the cost of buprenorphine treatment, making the drug significantly less
expensive than methadone and, possibly, less costly overall than drug-free treatment," wrote Robin Clark, Ph.D., of the University
of Massachusetts Medical School and colleagues (see States Pursue Elusive Savings by Limiting Buprenorphine).
The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) expanded the clinical context of medication-assisted opioid-addiction
treatment by allowing qualified physicians to dispense or prescribe specifically approved Schedule III, IV, and V narcotic
medications for the treatment of opioid addiction in treatment settings other than the traditional opioid treatment program
(that is, a methadone clinic). In addition, DATA 2000 reduced the regulatory burden on physicians who provide opioid-addiction
therapy by permitting qualified physicians to apply for and receive waivers of the special registration requirements defined
in the Controlled Substances Act.
The number of opiate addicts an individual physician is authorized to treat with buprenorphine under DATA 2000 was raised
from 30 to 100 in January 2007 (Psychiatric News, March 16, 2007).
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported in 2010 on their comparison of the use of methadone vs.
buprenorphine in 175 pregnant women with opioid dependency at eight international sites. They found buprenorphine to be an
acceptable treatment, with neonates from opioid-dependent mothers treated with buprenorphine experiencing significantly shorter
hospital stays and durations of treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome than those of mothers treated with methadone. There
were no significant differences between groups in the rates of maternal or neonatal adverse events.