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. (Read more pharmaceutical industry stories.)