Micardis (Boehringer Ingelheim)
Patent Expiry: January 2014

2012 Sales: $2.098 billion
2011 Sales: $2.217 billion
Change: (5%)

Sales remain strong for Boehringer Ingelheim's hypertension drug Micardis, but the company is facing down the barrel of the patent expiration gun for the blockbuster.

The company has ridden some waves of concern with the product. A meta-analysis in 2010 tied angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) like Micardis to increased cancer risks, but the FDA absolved them of that concern a year later with its own follow-up study. Micardis was also one of four drugs named last year in Boehringer Ingelheim's $95 million settlement with the Department of Justice, a rather smallish amount as these things go. The settlement covered Micardis, along with its stroke-prevention drug Aggrenox and the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drugs Atrovent and Combivent. The feds said Boehringer not only promoted them all for treatments for which they were not approved, early diabetic kidney disease in the case of Micardis, but also paid various forms of kickbacks to get doctors to prescribe them.

There is still life in the product. Boehringer Ingelheim said Micardis, along with respiratory treatment Mucosolvan, were among the drugs that drove its China sales up 32% in 2012.

For more:
Boehringer Ingelheim settles marketing case for just $95M


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