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A number of big name drugs will be coming off patent in 2012. Here is a snapshot of some of the best sellers in the U.S. Market that will be going off patent in 2012.

Brand Name

Generic Name

Sales (U.S.)



% of Revenue




Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY)





AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN)





Merck (NYSE:MRK)










Forest Labs (NYSE:FRX)





GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK)





Novartis (NYSE:NVS)


*Worldwide sales

Plavix (Clopidigrel)

Plavix has been sold in the United States by BMS due to an alliance with Sanofi (NYSE:SNY). A generic version of the medication has been available in Europe since 2008 and was briefly available in the United States thanks to a blunder by Bristol-Myers Squibb's legal department. In May of 2012 BMS will lose exclusivity in the United States. Plavix has been a huge success for BMS and is used to prevent clots in patients that have suffered heart attacks, stroke, or peripheral artery disease. BMS will be pinning a lot of their hopes on the success of Apixaban which they are developing with Pfizer in an effort to replace Coumadin.

Seroquel (Quetiapine)

Seroquel is an antipsychotic used to treat mania, depression, schizophrenia, and psychoses. AstraZeneca has launched an extended release version of Seroquel that has been successful and should help offset the revenue loss for a while. In the next few months AstraZeneca reps will be pushing doctor's to switch as many patients as possible over to the extended release version. Although Seroquel does not make up a giant percentage of AstraZeneca's sales they have a relatively poor pipeline. Also Lipitor recently going generic will most likely hurt sales of AstraZeneca's other blockbuster Crestor.

Singulair (Montelukast)

Singulair is a Leukotriene Receptor Antagonist that is used to treat asthma. Unlike many pharma companies Merck hasn't slashed Research and Development budgets in the face of patent expirations. Their CEO hopes this will result in growth in the long term while sacrificing short term earnings. Merck is up almost 9% since making known their dedication to Research and Development so investors seem to be reacting kindly so far.

Actos (Pioglitazone)

Takeda is a Japanese company that earns most of its revenue overseas. Actos is used for diabetes and is a member of the Thiazolidinedione class, which includes Avandia which has been linked to increasing the risk of heart attack. Takeda is a relatively small player in the US market so it is difficult to see them recouping Actos' lost sales any time soon.

Lexapro (Escitalopram)

Lexapro is used for depression and is Forest Laboratories follow up to the blockbuster Celexa and is essentially an (S) enatntiomer of Celexa. Forest will be in a tough spot when Lexapro goes generic considering it makes up over 50% of their sales. It also poorly diversified with only two drugs making up over 80% of their revenues.

Advair (Fluticasone/Salmeterol)

GSK's Advair is used to treat both asthma and COPD which millions of people in the United States suffer from. The drug is a combination of a long acting beta agonist and a coticosteroid which widen airways making it easier for patients to breath. Advair is unique because while it's patent expires in 2012 it might not be facing generic competition for quite some time. Generic industry veterans Teva (NYSE:TEVA) and Sandoz (a unit of Novartis) have both been running into problems perfecting GSK's manufacturing technique. Novartis even bought Oriel therapeutics which was founding by GSK executives in an effort to speed up development. GSK is not sitting around hoping no one perfects their manufacturing technique, they are currently conducting trials on Relovair which they hope can prove to be superior to Advair and replace it as the best selling COPD drug on the market.

Diovan (Valsartan)

Valsartan is one of the most popular ARB class medications on the market. Novartis had hoped that recently approved Aliskiren could help soften the blow when Diovan loses patent protection, but poor trial results ended that dream. Despite Aliskiren's failure Novartis is well positioned to with stand Diovan's patent expiration. Diovan makes up less than 15% of Novartis' sales so it shouldn't be a huge blow to earnings. They also are a very well diversified company with their generic Sandoz unit and recent purchase of Alcon.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: Best Selling Drugs Going Off Patent In 2012