Viagra goes generic: then what?

Jim Edwards asks a question that many Big Pharma watchers are asking, too: “What will happen when Viagra goes generic?”  The BNET pharmaceutical writer and former managing editor of Adweek offers this best guess in an AccessRx column:

“When the drug giant Pfizer loses its patent protection for its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, any drug company will be able to make and sell a cheap generic version of the blockbuster drug. Doctors and lawyers believe that the expiration of Pfizer’s monopoly on the drug will be good news for patients, as it will force competition between Pfizer’s Viagra and the new generic versions, dramatically driving down the price not only of Viagra but also of Eli Lilly’s Cialis and Bayer’s Levitra.

“However, increased options and cheaper prices for patients will lead to some confusion in the marketplace as Pfizer defends the reputation of its original brand and pharmacies become flooded with copycat pills, many of which may be made in China Continue reading

Is Big Pharma onboard the Titanic?

If you want to predict what you should be worrying about tomorrow, find out what insiders are worried about today. For example, it’s ever-so-enlightening to eavesdrop on the internal reports that Big Pharma stakeholders are reading, where the lowly, uninformed patient can find intriguing musings from pundits, those who are paid to stay one step ahead of the prescription pad.

At the Pharma Chem Outsourcing conference this month in New Jersey, speaker Stefan Loren of the investment firm Westwicke Partners revealed a sobering view of Big Pharma in his talk, “The Pharma Titanic: It’s Time To Root For the Iceberg”.

Mr. Loren opened his presentation with an overview of the U.S. national health care debate. He said that mandatory health insurance will be good for Big Pharma. But he also believes that there will be strong pressure for mandatory comparative effectiveness testing between drugs – not good for Big Pharma.

He sees global pharmaceutical sales declining, except for future growth coming in Asia and Latin America. He also sees evidence of “health care avoidance” – practices like unfilled prescriptions, unfinished courses of prescriptions, and people just not visiting medical and dental practitioners, also not a good trend for Big Pharma.

“The coming wave of patent expirations of the top 10 drugs will hit Big Pharma hard. Generics will grow: in 5-10 years, 80% of all prescriptions will be generic.  That means trouble ahead. For investors, the return on investment for Big Pharma is largely negative. It’s a “death spiral.” Continue reading