Exforge/Exforge HCT (amlodipine/valsartan)
Global Sales 2012: $1.352 billion
U.S. Sales 2012: $358 million
Expiration Date: October 2014
When it was approved in the U.S. in 2007, Novartis' ($NVS) Exforge was the first hypertension drug to combine a calcium channel blocker (amlodipine) with an angiotensin receptor blocker (valsartan) into a single-dose drug, a combo that helped it hit blockbuster status.
Over the years, Novartis has had issues with the way it has marketed the drug. In 2010, it agreed to pay $422 million in civil and criminal penalties for allegedly paying kickbacks to doctors to persuade them to prescribe Exforge as well as blood pressure drugs Diovan and Tekturna. The company also received a DDMAC letter that year that said it had been using a misleading brochure for the drug.
Novartis will not take much of a hit in the U.S. for the loss of the patent. While Exforge remains a blockbuster, having sold about $1.4 billion worldwide, about three-fourths of those sales occur outside the U.S., where it sold only $358 million last year.
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-- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)