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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'.

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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.


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