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Pharma to lose $69 billion in five years as patents expire

Published on 12/12/14 at 04:43pm
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AZ’s central nervous system segment “has been bleeding sales as a result of the company losing its patent on Seroquel".

Pharma companies are set to lose around $65 billion by 2019 due to drug patent expiries according to research firm GlobalData.

Some of the names that popped up include Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, plus Japanese firm Otsuka who are even set to lose $6.2 billion over the next five years as the result of generic competition.

According to Adam Dion, GlobalData’s analyst covering healthcare industry dynamics, Lilly and AZ have seen profits fall in the central nervous system therapeutics market since 2010 for example.

Dion explains that AZ’s central nervous system segment “has been bleeding sales as a result of the company losing its patent on Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate)”.

Seroquel is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, its patent loss led to the entry of cheaper generic alternatives from Teva and Sandoz.

Lilly’s market share declined from 14.3% in 2010 to 11.2% in 2013: “primarily thanks to decreasing sales of Zyprexa (olanzapine), the company’s dopamine antagonist used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” says Dion.

He continues: “Zyprexa sales have plummeted from over $5 billion to $1.2 billion over the same period, as a result of the drug losing its US patent exclusivity in 2011.”

Losses in central nervous system treatment sector

A substantial proportion of losses will come from the central nervous system treatment sector, the research firm found.

Otsuka – set to potentially lose the most – will face some testing times over the next five years when the patent of its anti-psychotic drug Abilify (aripiprazole) expires next year.

Co-marketed with Bristol-Myers Squibb, the drug was the leader in its sector with sales of $9.5 billion in 2013. “Otsuka benefited from higher annual sales across most major markets in 2013 due to reimbursement and label expansions,” continues Dion.

“However, Abilify’s upcoming US patent expiration in 2015 means the drug will lose a massive $6.2 billion by 2019 as the result of generic competition, making it the biggest victim of the pharmaceutical industry’s current patent cliff.”

Tom Robinson

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