Generic savings tell a different patent-loss tale

Earnings season has provided one measure of how hard patent losses and generic competition have hit pharma companies. The thousands and thousands of laid off workers is another gauge. But a new IMS study provides a fascinating picture of how much U.S. drug buyers, including the government, have saved.

In 2011, U.S. payers saved $1 billion every other day, a total of $193 billion. That is because 80% of the 4 billion prescriptions sold in the U.S. are now generic drugs, a 22% jump from 2010, PharmaTimes reports. But the IMS study flips the numbers again. It doesn't say what the total spent is, but puts generics' share at just 27%.

The study was conducted for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), which can then brag about such things as saving payers $481 billion from generics over the past 10 years. And these figures barely take in the loss of protection for Pfizer's ($PFE) cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, which occurred Nov. 30.

Other studies tell other stories. The $67 billion in drug sales put at risk this year from patent expirations is the most yet, EvaluatePharma has reported. Next year looks better with only $29 billion in drugs losing exclusivity. It moves to $40 billion in 2014 and $56 billion in 2015 before dropping back to $31 billion--2010 levels--in 2016. 

- read the PharmaTimes story 

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