The drug: OxyContin
The company: Purdue Pharma
Patent expiration date: August 31, 2013
Estimated Global Sales 2012: $2.35 billion
The scoop: Initially the OxyContin patent was slated to expire in April of next year, though Evaluate Pharma slated the date at the end of August when Watson is expected to be first on the market with a copy. Interested in gaining a 6-month stay of execution on the patent front, Purdue mounted the necessary clinical trial for a group of 6- to 16-year-olds, sparking a significant amount of discussion about the wisdom of exposing children to one of the most addictive meds on the market. Purdue responded to the hubbub by saying that it wasn't promoting the use of OxyContin among kids, but felt that pediatricians who were treating children for chronic pain could benefit from a better understanding of how it works. Purdue has been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for misleading patients on the addictive nature of the drug, but the blockbuster revenue has helped ease the pain.