The other day I was browsing the pharmacy shelves for anti-inflammatories and debating whether to purchase a branded product or a generic. Of course, the pharmacy own label brand was suitably placed most conveniently at eyeline, whereas the competitors were housed above and the branded products awkwardly placed at the floor level.
There was inevitably difference in the prices and a wide range of formulation choices (soft gel capsules, hard pills, capsules, caplets etc). None were dispersible, which was what I was ideally looking for.
In the time I spent thoroughly investigating the options, 3 or 4 people walked past, paused briefly and grabbed the cheapest (and most lurid) box on display, and marched off with their selection.
Back in the office, I did some research on generics. In the last few years we've all become accustomed to news about pipeline failures in phase III, a dearth of new products coming to market and various market pressures on patents, prices etc.
But what of generics, what's the trend there? I'm particularly interested in this because a number of blockbuster cancer drugs have either just gone off patent (eg sanofi-aventis's Eloxatin) or are about to within the next 12-18 months (Taxotere, Doxil, the aromatase inhibitors etc).
Taking a look at the industry PhRMA site, I found some interesting data in several places about the growth of generics, which you can see consolidated graphically below:
Now, this data only applies to full years already reported, so with a number of blockbusters going off patent, we can expect the share of generics in the market to increase. Is it any wonder that prices of new therapies are rising as the market pressures on profit margins increase?
It's going to be an interesting 18 months ahead as we watch the industry adapt and try to do more with less. Ultimately, those who are smart and creative will more likely to be successful.