The Congressional Budget Office pegs the annual savings from generic drugs in the U.S. alone at $8 billion to $10 billion.
On Feb. 6, the $3 billion-per-year best seller Fosamax, the leading treatment for osteoporosis, lost its patent protection. Its maker, Merck (MRK), plans to sell an “authorized generic” with Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI) to compete with similar generics from Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) and Barr Pharma (BRL). All this competition will mean the price of alendronate (the generic name for Fosamax)—currently about $90 per month—should drop by 60% to 70%.
Here’s a look at some other popular drugs that lose patent protection in 2008.
- Effexor XR