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The imminent arrival of the dreaded "patent cliff" has been haunting the pharmaceutical industry for years, and it's finally here.With patents on many blockbuster drugs about to expire, an estimated 0 billion in sales are at risk between now and 2015, according to data from Evaluate Pharma.Once drugs lose patent protection, lower-price generics quickly siphon off as much as 90% of their sales.

According to IBISWorld, the top five best-sellers set to lose patent protection in each of the next two years are: Lipitor Cholesterol fighter Lipitor held the title "best-selling drug" for a few years, and has been a major source of income for the world's biggest drug company, Pfizer (PFE).Lipitor (atorvastatin) was released in 1998, and by 2006 it had reached peak sales of .9 billion, accounting for 27% of the company's revenue.In 2010, with .8 billion in sales, Lipitor still accounted for 15.8% of total revenue, even with the addition of Wyeth's operations.In 2008, Pfizer reached an agreement with Indian generics manufacturer Ranbaxy Laboratories. 30, 2011, and have exclusivity for 180 days before other drugmakers can enter the market.Ranbaxy will have a license to sell atorvastatin in the U. Watson Pharmaceuticals will also introduce a generic for Lipitor.Between 20, drugs that make up 42% of Pfizer's pharmaceutical revenue will lose patent protection, among them the antacid Protonix.

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