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Drug prices to plummet in wave of expiring patents

Jul 25th, 2011 - Health News

UNDATED (AP) — An unprecedented wave of expiring patents is expected to be a boon to millions of prescription drug users and change the economics of the pharmaceutical industry.

The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix.

A London research firm says that between now and 2016, blockbusters with about $255 billion in global annual sales are set to go off patent. Generic competition will decimate sales of the brand-name drugs and slash the cost to patients and companies that provide health benefits.

Generic versions of big-selling drugs for blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, depression, high triglycerides, HIV and bipolar disorder are coming soon.

Doctors hope the lower prices will also benefit people jeopardizing their health because they can't afford medicines they need.

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