Merck put Fosamax (alendronate sodium) and its $3 billion in total 2007 sales in
its rear-view mirror yesterday, following the lapse of patent protection on the
Merck forecast that 2008 sales will decline by at least half
that, followed by more attrition later, according to a CNNMoney.com report. Fosamax
is part of about $20 billion worth of drugs expected to lose patent protection
this year, according to IMS Health stats cited in the report.
This month alone, upcoming patent losses will include
GlaxoSmithKline asthma meds Advair ($6 billion in total sales) and
Serevent ($500 million in total sales), according to BusinessWeek.
Hoping to stem some of its own losses, Merck quickly
launched an authorized generic version of Fosamax (alendronate) through Watson
Pharmaceuticals. Under terms of the agreement with Watson, Merck will
manufacture and supply the alendronate tablets to Watson, which will
market, sell and distribute the pills in the US. Merck will get a cut of US
sales. Further details were not disclosed.
Also yesterday, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Barr Labs became
the first two generics companies to receive FDA approval to make and sell