Big Pharma Faces Big Plunge

Profits will drop as patents expire, and chemical-based therapies are eclipsed by biotech
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2007 4:50 AM CST
Blood thinner medication Plavix is shown July 28, 2006 in a New York file photo. Drug companies stand to lose billions of dollars in revenue when patents expire on best selling drugs like Plavix and Lipitor....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Patent protections on some of the pharmaceutical industry's best-selling drugs, like Lipitor, Plavix and Singulair, are due to expire in the next several years, and drug manufacturers have little in the pipeline to replace them. The drug companies will lose billions—as much as half their combined revenue—to generic competitors, triggering an unprecedented industry crisis, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Some analysts believe the industry is on the verge of decline as chemical-based therapies are being eclipsed by more complex—and more profitable—biotech products. As a result, pharmaceutical giants have begun buying up biotech companies. "The era that created the modern pharmaceutical industry is over," said an analyst.