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Big-money meds lose patent protection in 2016


Total spending on products whose patents expired between 2012 and 2015 declined by $14.2 billion last year, according to IMS Health’s Institute for Health Care informatics. And 2016 could bring about further cost reductions.

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Already in 2016, Sun Pharma launched its generic version of Novartis’ cancer drug Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) tablets in February. Gleevec, which treats Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, had annual sales of $2.5 billion for the 12 months ended August 2015.

In May, Allergan introduced a generic of Crestor. Since 2011, the treatment for high triglycerides and high cholesterol sold by AstraZeneca has brought in $26.6 billion, with $6.3 billion of those sales coming in 2015, when it was the third-highest-selling drug.

Two other high-selling drugs that treat high cholesterol, high triglycerides and heart disease will be losing patent protection this year. Merck’s Zetia will see its patent expire in December. The drug saw $2.7 billion in sales in 2015, according to Merck.

And in October Daiichi Sankyo’s Benicar and Benicar HCT’s patents will expire, opening the way for the nine generic applications before the FDA for the two drugs (six for Benicar, three for Benicar HCT.) According to the company’s fiscal year 2015 financial results, Zetia brought in $661 million.

Among other big drugs losing patents this year is Seroquel XR, an atypical antipsychotic that treats schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, whose patent expires in November, and which saw just more than $1 billion in global sales in 2015, according to AstraZeneca.

GSK’s HIV treatment Epzicom will lose its patent in July, opening up its $258 million in sales to generics makers.

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