A report by Datamonitor suggests that by 2016, drugmakers may face the loss of nearly $140 billion in annual sales as key products lose patent protection.
Industry analysts have forecast that the biggest decrease in revenue could occur in 2011 and 2012, when patents for several major products are set to expire in the US, including Pfizer's Lipitor, GlaxoSmithKline's Advair, AstraZeneca's Seroquel, and sanofi-aventis' and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Plavix.
Some experts have expressed concern that there are not enough new compounds in development to offset the loss of revenue due to patent expiries. Many drugmakers have been working on new formulations for approved products, although Datamonitor pharmaceutical analyst Alistair Sinclair commented that "while reformulation strategies may be effective at staving off generic competition in the short term, ultimately manufacturers need to develop truly novel drugs in order to maintain franchise and portfolio revenues in the face of generic competition."
According to IMS Health data, global pharmaceutical sales reached $643 billion in 2006.
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