Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More


Military and Veterans Discount


AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.


AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning Centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.


Heart Disease


Most Popular


Inside E Street

Who Benefits When Drugs Go Off Patent

Pharmaceutical companies limit the competition of generics when patented drugs lose their exclusivity

If you look in your medicine cabinet, chances are you'll see at least one of the following blockbuster drugs: Lipitor, Plavix, Lexapro or Singulair. They lower cholesterol, help prevent heart attacks and treat depression, asthma and allergies.

See also: Paying less for drugs in the Part D 'Doughnut Hole'.

pharmacist looking at prescription drug bottles

What happens when prescription drugs are no longer under patent? — Photo by Tetra Images/GettyImages

They're also among the top selling prescription medicines going off the "patent cliff" — that's what the drug industry calls the moment patented drugs lose their exclusivity. This usually happens 15 years after the drug is introduced to the public — a time when pharmaceutical companies worry about making profits as generic competition enters the drug market.


This Inside E Street takes a look at the strategies pharmaceutical companies take once a blockbuster drug goes off patent — strategies aimed at limiting both competition and, unfortunately, your savings on your meds.


You may also like: Don't miss out on drug savings.


Back to Article

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points