Although the current drug shortage that has been going on is caused more by FDA regulations limiting production (bureaucracy is making it hard to meet sudden demands and problems), more manufacturers of popular drugs may help lift that burden. How? Over the next two years 7 of the 20 most popular drugÂ patents will expire, and competitors will be able to manufacture generic versions.
More generic drugs will also mean money saved, both for people buying their own medications as well as for the system as a whole. Some of the medications that will become available as generics (up to 80% cheaper) include common heart health medications Lipitor and Plavix.
It’s estimated over the next decade over a hundred more common medications will become available as generics. This will improve the lives of people who currently are not taking all of the medications they need to stay healthy due to high costs. This expands out to lowering the burden on the system as a whole as those same people have lower long term medical costs from getting treatment sooner.
Finally, the looming boom in generics could have a huge (negative) impact on big pharma. Brand name drugs pay for pharmaceutical research, which over the past twenty years has been focused on developing “blockbuster drugs”, which treat common, long term conditions (ADD, heart problems, depression, chronic pain…). There have been few new blockbuster drugs in recent years to replace the profit generators companies will be losing, although they are working to offset these losses in a number of ways (not advertising for drugs available as generic, partnering for development, reaching out to sell drugs in developing countries).
Do you think there are other benefits to having more available generics? What drugs are you excited to see as generics?