2. Cialis

Company: Eli Lilly
Diseases: Erectile dysfunction and enlarged prostate
Estimated 2016 U.S. sales: $1.469 billion
U.S. patent expiration date: November 21

Eli Lilly’s erectile dysfunction med Cialis not only ranks at the top of 2017 U.S. patent losses by sales, but also faces the biggest decline after generics hit. EvaluatePharma analysts predict Cialis’ stateside sales will fall to just $55 million in 2022, a 96% dropoff from 2016’s $1.45 billion.

That's a big comedown for a massively successful brand that's brought in more than $17 billion over its patent life so far.

Lilly is trying to extend Cialis' hold on the market by applying for pediatric exclusivity, an FDA-awarded extension to a drug's monopoly, based on a drugmaker's efforts to study a particular drug for use in children. A spokesperson said in early February that the company remains "in discussions with the FDA" about the prospect.

Those months would be a nice reprieve. Cialis brought in $1.469 billion in the U.S. last year, and it accounted for nearly 7% of Eli Lilly’s total global haul. U.S. sales grew 17% over the previous year on "higher realized prices," Lilly said in its Q4 earnings announcement.

But if Lilly's FDA talks don't succeed, a group of generics makers is waiting in the wings to launch their Cialis knockoffs after November 21. The bevy of rivals will dramatically undercut Lilly's Cialis pricing power—and quickly bleed away market share, analysts say. Generics from Aurobindo, Teva Pharmaceutical, Alembic and Synthon are tentatively FDA-approved to roll, according to Drugs@FDA.

Even after losing exclusivity, however, Cialis could get a second chance at brand sales. Back in 2014, French drugmaker Sanofi picked up OTC rights to Cialis in a handful of countries—the U.S. included—and Lilly has said it's working with the FDA on assessing the feasibility of selling Cialis over-the-counter.

Over the years, Lilly has grown its key ED brand with a great deal of advertising, building an identity around couples in bathtubs in TV ads and elsewhere. First appearing in 2003, the now-familiar imagery initially caught flack, but Lilly stuck with it—and spent big bucks on it. Between the bathtub campaigns and other advertising, the company shelled out $222 million on Cialis ads in 2015, the last year for which data is now available.

Thanks to its late-year exclusivity loss, Cialis will hold its blockbuster ground this year, EvaluatePharma figures, generating $1.28 billion in U.S. sales. Then, next year, the downfall starts. Cialis will post significantly lower sales in 2018—$304 million—and continue to drop from there, according to the analysts. 

Cialis is only one of three sizable patent losses Lilly will suffer in 2017. The company is cutting jobs and costs to retrench as it builds sales of newer products, such as the diabetes meds Trulicity and Jardiance.

2. Cialis