Generic Pharmaceutical Conference

Big Pharma is worried. The $300 billion brand-name drug industry could face declines as a flurry of blockbuster drugs introduced in the 1990s—Plavix, Seroquel—lose their 20-year patent protection, allowing manufacturers to offer generic versions. (On average, the drugs will drop in price from $198 to just $72.) As brand-name companies now work to create the next round of superselling medications, attendees of this Cape Town, South Africa, meeting are questioning the efficacy of drug patents. Here, five in-demand meds and their generic counterparts.

Zyprexa | Illustration by Jan Feindt

ZYPREXA
(Olanzapine)

What it does: An antipsychotic, Zyprexa treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is Eli Lilly's top-selling drug.
2010 U.S. sales: $2.5 billion
Brand-name cost (per prescription): $747
Generic cost (per prescription): $149
Generic in: October

Lipitor | Illustration by Jan Feindt

LIPITOR
(Atorvastatin)

What it does: This cholesterol-lowering drug is one of the most hyped soon-to-be-generics, as more than 4 million Americans take the medication.
2010 U.S. sales: $5.3 billion
Brand-name cost (per prescription): $228
Generic cost (per prescription): $46
Generic in: November

Lexapro | Illustration by Jan Feindt

LEXAPRO
(Escitalopram Oxalate)

What it does: By inhibiting the reabsorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, Lexapro is said to help symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2010 U.S. sales: $2.2 billion
Brand-name cost (per prescription):$163
Generic cost (per prescription): $33
Generic in: March 2012

Provigil | Illustration by Jan Feindt

PROVIGIL
(Modafinil)

What it does: Rather than a classic stimulant, Provigil is a "wakefulness-promoting agent," helping those with narcolepsy stay awake.
2010 U.S. sales: $1 billion
Brand-name cost (per prescription): $1,158
Generic cost (per prescription): $149
Generic in: April 2012

Singulair | Illustration by Jan Feindt

SINGULAIR
(Montelukast)

What it does: Singulair cuts down on airway inflammation typical in asthma patients; it's also prescribed for allergies.
2010 U.S. sales: $3.2 billion
Brand-name cost (per prescription): $215
Generic cost (per prescription): $215
Generic in: August 2012

Illustrations by Jan Feindt

Wednesday, November 2 >>

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