- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
Expiring patents on drugs to slash cost
Generics nearing for Lipitor, Plavix
The cost of prescription medicines used by millions of people every day is about to plummet.
The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world’s 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two, cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix.
The magnitude of this wave of expiring drug patents is unprecedented. Between now and 2016, blockbusters with about $255 billion in global annual sales are set to go off patent, notes EvaluatePharma Ltd., a London research firm. Generic competition will crush sales of the brand-name drugs and slash the cost to patients and companies that provide health benefits.
Top drugs getting generic competition by September 2012 are taken by millions every day: Lipitor alone is taken by about 4.3 million Americans and Plavix by 1.4 million. Generic versions of big-selling drugs for blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, depression, high triglycerides, HIV and bipolar disorder also are coming by then.
The flood of generics will continue for the next decade or so, as about 120 brand-name prescription drugs lose market exclusivity, according to prescription-benefit manager Medco Health Solutions Inc.
“My estimation is at least 15 percent of the population is currently using one of the drugs whose patents will expire in 2011 or 2012,” says Joel Owerbach, chief pharmacy officer for Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, which serves most of upstate New York.
Those patients, along with businesses and taxpayers who help pay for prescription drugs through corporate and government prescription plans, collectively will save a small fortune. That’s because generic drugs typically cost 20 percent to 80 percent less than the brand names.
Doctors hope the lower prices will significantly reduce the number of people jeopardizing their health because they can’t afford medicines they need. Dr. Nieca Goldberg, director of the Women’s Heart Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, worries about patients who are skipping checkups and halving pills.
“You can pretty much tell by the numbers when I check the patient’s blood pressure or cholesterol levels,” that they’ve not taken their medications as prescribed, she says.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China; prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Protesters, police clash in Philippines ahead of Obama visit
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014