Published Online: Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The ?wave of genericization? that has lowered health costs for millions of Americans will continue over the coming years, according to a new market estimate that forecasts nothing but sunshine for the generic-drug industry. Behind the glowing outlook: a new rash of patent expirations during 2008 that will create generic competition for pharmaceuticals that now generate $20 billion in annual sales, according to IMS Health. Among the big-money drugs slated to lose patent exclusivity over the next 12 months: Risperdal (risperidone, Janssen LP), Fosamax (alendronate sodium, Merck & Co), Topamax (topiramate, Ortho-McNeil Neurologics Inc), Lamictal (lamotrigine, GlaxoSmithKline), and Depakote (divalproex sodium, Abbott Laboratories).

?In 2008, more than two thirds of all prescriptions written in the United States are expected to be for generics,? and the demand for cheaper generic products is likely to rise in other countries as well next year, IMS Health researchers reported. ?New government contracting initiatives in Germany, and educational programs in Japan, Spain, and Italy, will drive greater generics use in those markets. Also, generics competition within the biotech sector will rise as the biosimilar epoetin alfa is marketed across Europe.?

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