J&J considers going abroad with generics

Johnson & Johnson may join the Big Pharma assault on generics markets abroad. In a discussion with analysts, the company's pharma chief Sheri McCoy (photo) talked up the ways J&J drugs can shore up earnings growth. Much of the chat centered on products set to flow from the company pipeline, but McCoy also highlighted some newly approved products--and the possibility of selling branded generics in other parts of the world.

J&J's pharma operations have been suffering from generic competition to its blockbuster antipsychotic Risperdal. Meanwhile, safety concerns about anemia remedies have depressed Procrit sales, Reuters points out, and its multibillion-dollar epilepsy remedy Topamax fell off patent in March. Nevertheless, the company says it's relying on pharma to drive growth.

How? The anti-inflammatory drug Simponi just got the FDA nod; as a follow-up to blockbuster Remicade, it could soften the blow when the latter hits the end of its patent life. It's launching a new pain remedy this month--Nucynta--and has a couple of products on the verge of hitting the market, provided regulators cooperate.

And then there's the prospect of generics. As the WSJ Health Blog reports, McCoy told analysts that J&J isn't interested in hawking generics in the States, but may get into the copycat market in other countries. And it might do so in partnership with another company, a la Pfizer and India's Aurobindo Pharma or GlaxoSmithKline and South Africa's Aspen.

- get the news from J&J
- see the Reuters article
- read the Health Blog post