Teva Pharmaceutical Industries - 10 Largest U.S. Patent Losses

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Drug: Provigil
Company: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (via Cephalon buyout)
2010 U.S. sales: $1.059 billion/$1.120 billion global
Impact: 10.6% of Teva's U.S. sales, 49.4% of Cephalon's
Exclusivity expires: April 2012

You might say Cephalon dodged a bullet on its Provigil patent loss. The company was set to lose almost half of its U.S. sales when the blockbuster narcolepsy drug lost exclusivity. Provigil amounted to almost 40% of Cephalon's worldwide revenues, too. Although Cephalon had a follow-up drug, Nuvigil, already on the market, the company knew its numbers would take a big hit.

Cephalon raised Provigil's price to capitalize on the brand as much as possible--and inspire patients to convert to Nuvigil instead. It struck deals with generics makers, some of which attracted scrutiny from antitrust regulators. It sought new indications for the wakefulness drugs--and found itself under investigation by the Justice Department for potential off-label marketing violations.

Now, Cephalon is part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Suddenly, the loss of Provigil exclusivity isn't as big of a problem. The drug's $1 billion-plus sales do amount to 10% of Teva's North American revenues, but the company has other big growth plans to compensate. In fact, Teva agreed to divest its generic version of Provigil in Europe--and to sell one-year generic rights in the U.S. to Par Pharmaceutical. No, Teva's biggest patent worry isn't Provigil. It's Copaxone, but that's not until 2014.