Stocks Tumble as Bayer Loses Patent for Contraceptive

Generic birth control pill could soon steal market
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 4:27 AM CST
Gerd Feger picks up samples of Alka Seltzer pills in the pharmaceutical plant of the Bayer company in Bitterfeld, eastern Germany, in this Aug. 15, 2007 file photo. Bayer AG said Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Bayer shares tumbled to a 12-month low yesterday after a US judge ended the pharmaceutical giant's patent on Yasmin, the company’s top-selling birth control pill. The ruling means rival Barr Pharmaceuticals may introduce a lower-priced generic version of Yasmin in the next few months, Bloomberg reports. 

Sales of Yasmin generated $490 million for Bayer in the US last year, and the drug and related contraceptives accounted for the biggest chunk of  Bayer’s pharmaceutical revenue. American sales of Yasmin could fall by up to 50% in the first year after the launch of a generic version, said one analyst. Bayer, Germany’s largest pharmaceutical firm, may appeal the judge’s ruling.