Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Drugmakers strike back at generics

From the National Post:
When the blockbuster heart pill Norvasc lost its patent protection earlier this year, generic manufacturers couldn't wait to get into the lucrative market for Canada's third top-selling prescription drug, predicting they could save patients $180-million a year with their cheaper copies.

But the Saskatchewan government has just awarded its first contract for a generic version of the medicine to a "generic" branch of Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that makes Norvasc itself, feeding concerns that such tendering systems will become the norm and inadvertently leave Canadians paying much more for prescription drugs.

Pfizer lost a drawn-out court battle recently to try to keep its patent-protection in force longer and delay any generic competition for another year.

Like other brand-name companies, though, the world's largest pharma firm sometimes enters the generic market when its drugs go off patent, and its GenMed division offered Saskatchewan's drug plan the lowest price among the eight competitors that started selling copies of Norvasc when the patent expired last week....more

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