6. Sandostatin LAR

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Despite losing its patent protection early in the year, Novartis' Sandostatin LAR is expected to continue its sales contribution in a meaningful way at the Swiss drugmaker for years to come.

Company: Novartis
Disease: Acromelagy and diarrhea associated with certain types of tumors
2016 U.S. sales: $853 million
U.S. patent expiration date: January 13

Despite losing its patent protection early in the year, Novartis' Sandostatin LAR is expected to continue chipping in sales—meaningful sales—at the Swiss drugmaker for years to come, EvaluatePharma says.

Novartis' Sandostatin franchise, which also includes an immediate release version, brought in $853 million in 2016 sales. According to EvaluatePharma, that number will rise slightly in 2017 and 2018, then fall modestly to $820 million over the next several years. Drug Patent Watch lists its patent expiration as January 13, 2017. 

Sandostatin treats acromegaly, a disorder stemming from excessive production of growth hormone; it affects fewer than 20,000 patients in the U.S. per year. It's also used to treat severe diarrhea and flushing due to metastatic carcinoid tumors. FDA regulators first approved the med in 1998.

Teva Pharmaceutical, Sun Pharma and Fresenius Kabi are among the companies with tentatively approved knockoffs to the injection, Drugs@FDA says. Sandostatin LAR is what generics makers call "complex generics," which are complicated to produce and develop, so the bar for market entry is high.

6. Sandostatin LAR