The pharmaceutical patent cliff: What's coming in 2013


In February of 2011, we reported on a new study that essentially blew away all of the standard estimates of the cost of bringing a new drug to market. The former estimate of a billion or two and 12 - 15 years in costs and time, were laid waste by new data from a careful analysis of the public filings of the largest pharma companies, showing that even the very best of them is now spending something close to US$4 billion in order to get a drug to market - while for the worst performers, that figure was something closer to US$12 billion. Most recently, the pharma industry seems to be attempting something of a makeover, however the great headwind of expiring patents - the so-called "pharmaceutical patent cliff", is still a major obstacle to the sector's return to stability and growth.

In a revealing exposition of just how big this pharma patent cliff will be, the Fierce Pharma web site has compiled a list of the top 15 pharmaceutical patent expirations due to take effect in 2013, ranked by current sales. To give you a sense of the magnitude of this problem, the article reports that the patent cliff in 2013 could amount to a loss for the major pharma companies of about US$29 billion annually, with about 70% of this being lost to generics.

You can see the full article and the list of the top 15 pharmaceutical patent expirations of 2013 here.

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