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The truth about generics 2015-08-17

Despite the fact that the policies of many countries are now focused on building an innovative pharmaceutical industry, the intellectual property protection in the pharmaceutical industry is provided not quite properly.

To date, approximately 50% of the pharmaceutical market present innovative original preparations. The patents of most of these drugs is about to expire or is already expired. For many pharmaceutical manufacturers this means that it is a high time  to entry onto the global market and start the competition with a help of generic copies of brand name medications.  However, in contrast to the US and European countries, there is a practice in India  when pharmaceutical company can bring to market some generic drugs immediately after the company - developer of the original drug.

So, probably you have already understood the concept of generic drug. More simply, generic drug -  is a medicine that gives the same results as its patented analog. Development and marketing of a new drug is very expensive, so the prices of brand drugs have to be high enough to compensate the huge part of spends for drug development, not only production. Also, it should be mentioned that the manufacturers of generics, unlike brand makers do not spend their assets on advertising. Due to all these factors the price of generic drugs is much less.

Of course, today medical science is waiting for new discoveries. But, alas, in the last decades there appear less and less amount of original medicines.   Today, the whole pharmaceutical branch experiences the boom of generics. It happened after the collapse of the global patent in early 2012. Drug-bestsellers (annual sales of which is more than 2 billion dollars) which are produced by the world's largest companies (Sanofi, AstraZeneca, Merk & Co, Pfizer, Roche) began to lose the protection of patents in the 90s of the twentieth century. In this situation, most companies have suspended their intensive work in  R&D laboratory and rearranged to analogues creation, the cost of which, as the result, was reduced by 60-70 percent, comparing with a brand. On the other hand their release and becomes widespread. Thus, the situation is quite favorable for most of the countries as cheap generics will prolong the life of ordinary people who get the chance to buy drugs, which they could not afford before.

But there is another side of the coin. It turns out that it is much easier to use the patent for pharmaceutical companies, the validity of which ended, not spending time and money on their own pharma developments. The whole generic pharmaceutical market in the US is currently estimated at about 73 billion of dollars and this amount will rise to 107 billion dollars in 2016. The transition from researching to a simple "copying", in fact, provokes a situation of stagnation of this industry. Even among companies that specialize on brand medications (there are only ten of them in the world in fact),  there is a significant reduction in funding of R & D each year.  Taking into account that the investments for the development of only one unique molecule have  to grow to over 1 billion of dollars, the desire of corporations to expand the portfolio of generic pharmaceuticals seems to be very logical. This is the only way for companies to secure financial stability after the collapse of the patent, which will continue for several more years.

According to expert estimates, the collapse of the patent, which we have experienced  makes, for example, Indian Pharma stay on the path of generic drugs production during the next 15-20 years. Certainly, only the US and Japan, manufacturers will continue to invest in creation of unique drugs. So, approximately in 5-10 years, only in case of sufficient financial support of R & D in the enterprises from the governmental sides, we will see the emergence of a fundamentally new molecules and technologies that may allow the pharmaceutical business enter a new starting line. Will the venture investors help the young companies involved in the development of innovative drugs?  This depends only upon how attractive will be the start-ups who decided to conquer the pharmaceutical market during such a "non innovative" period.

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