Is reformulation discouraging innovation?

When Abbott Laboratories' ($ABT) patent expired on the blockbluster TriCor, the company found a simple solution: reformulating the drug and reapplying, thereby maintaining its hold on the cholesterol market. But there's no evidence that Abbott's continuous reformulations actually improve outcomes for patients--although they're certainly a bonus for shareholders. Now, a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine maintains that if all patients taking some version of TriCor switched to a generic, the U.S. healthcare system would save about $700 million a year. The report highlights the possibility that drugmakers can put off R&D on new treatments and instead focus on extending the life and profitability of old drugs. Report