biosimilars business

The Lucrative World of Copycat Drugs

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • A German discount agreement with pharmaceutical companies is hindering generic drugmakers from getting doctors to perscribe their biotech copycat drugs.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • The eight biggest biotech products that have or will be losing their patents between 2015 and 2020 have annual sales of €42 billion.
    • In Germany alone, biotech products with a sales volume of over €1 billion will be losing their patent protection in the coming three years.
    • Although 20 different products are now on the market, at 1.8 percent their share of the total volume of prescriptions remains very small.
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    Audio

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Lab Experiment
Appliance of science in a biotech lab. Source: Getty Images

Adalimumab is really hot at the moment. The biotech drug, which is used to combat inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or the inflammatory bowel disease Crohn’s, has sales amounting to around $15 billion a year.

A dozen firms are currently working on developing a copy of Humira, the U.S. pharmaceutical company Abbvie’s trade name for the drug. The companies want to be on the market with a copy of the drug in time for when Humira’s patent runs out in 2018.

The battle for the market in these biopharmaceutically produced drugs – known as biosimilars — is in full swing. The potential is huge. The eight biggest biotech products that have or will be losing their patents between 2015 and 2020 most recently had annual sales amounting to €42 billion, or $44.5 billion.

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