Generics set to undercut blockbusters from Merck, Novartis and Bristol-Myers

Merck building
Merck has four meds—totaling $3.8 billion in sales—susceptible to generics this year.

Several blockbusters are set to take a nosedive this year as patent losses hit Novartis, Merck & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb and other top pharma companies.

Dickson Data has compiled a list of major drugs losing their IP protection this year, and standing at the top is Novartis’ Sandostatin LAR with $1.6 billion in annual sales. Used to treat acromegaly and severe diarrhea and flushing associated with carcinoid syndrome, the drug will quickly face generic erosion from a slew of companies, including Teva, Sun Pharma, Sagent Pharmaceuticals and Wockhardt.

Behind Sandostatin LAR is Merck’s antibiotic Cubicin, a key prize in the New Jersey pharma giant’s $9.5 billion purchase of Cubist Pharmaceuticals back in 2014. The drug currently tallies $1.17 billion in sales, according to Dickson, and is set to face cheaper rivals from Hospira, Teva and Crane Pharma, FDA records show.

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FiercePharma!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FiercePharma as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on drugs and the companies that make them. Sign up today to get pharma news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Merck faces another blockbuster loss, too: Its cholesterol med Vytorin, with $1.12 billion in sales, comes in fourth place, according to Dickson. Bristol-Myers’ HIV drug Reyataz stands in third place with $1.14 billion.

Branded drugs tend to lose 90% of their sales after multiple generics make it to market, according to the firm. The copycats are typically 80 to 85% cheaper than the branded originals.

Although not a blockbuster like others on the list, Eli Lilly’s ADHD med Strattera rounds out the top five drugs facing a patent expiration, Dickson found, with annual sales just shy of $700 million. Zydus, Aurobindo, Sun Pharma and Mylan are among the companies seeking to grab a piece of that drug’s annual haul.

Merck’s antibiotic Invanz and antifungal med Cancidas are also set to lose patent protection for the New Jersey pharma giant; all told, the drugmaker has four meds—totaling $3.8 billion in sales, or 10% of its total haul—susceptible to generics this year.

Suggested Articles

FDA officials say Novartis took too long to launch a formal probe into allegations of Zolgensma data manipulation.

Should Johnson & Johnson owe billions to fix Oklahoma's opioid crisis? After weeks of trial testimony, a judge will have his say Monday afternoon.

After Endo and Allergan agreed to settle with two Ohio counties on opioid charges this week, the state’s AG has a message: You’re not off the hook.