Prescription drug costs to drop as patents expire

14:57, July 26, 2011      

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Seven of the 20 top selling American prescription drugs will lose their patents by the end of next year, making way for less expensive generic versions, according to media reports.

It's a shift that could save consumers billions of dollars -- assuming those big-ticket medications are willing to give up a trusted brand name for an off-label replacement.

The prices of medications such as cholesterol-fighting Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix are expected to go down significantly, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Lipitor will lose its patent in November. When that patent expires, people are advised to buy atorvastatin, the generic equivalent.

Other brand names include the anti-psychotic Zyprexa and the rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis drug Enbrel, of which the patent will expire in October and October of next year, respectively.

Over the next 10 years, an estimated 120 more brand-name prescription drugs will lose their patents in the U.S.

Source: Xinhua
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