$22B US Generic Drugs Industry by the Numbers

With the new Democratic Congress promising to lower health care costs, generic drug makers take on brand-name rivals to level the playing field, reports AP. Here are some key metrics and stats on the generic drugs market: 

With nearly $22.3 billion in 2005 US sales compared to $229.5 billion U.S. brand pharmaceutical manufacturer sales for 2005, generic medicines account for 13.1% of all prescription drugs sales, but 56% of all prescriptions dispensed in the United States. 

Generic pharmaceutical products are used to fill more than 1 billion prescriptions every year.

Top generic drug companies include: Novartis (Sandoz), Teva, Mylan, Watson, and Barr Pharmaceuticals.

8,730 of the 11,487 drugs listed in the FDA’s Orange Book  have generic counterparts.

In 2005, the average retail price of a generic prescription drug was $29.82. The average retail price of a brand name prescription drug was $101.71. 

Blockbuster products coming off patent are valued at $22 billion in 2006, $27 billion in 2007, and $29 billion in 2008, according to Bain & Company report.

Among the blockbuster drug patents scheduled to expire in the next two years are:

  • Schering Plough's allergy treatment Clarinex 
  • Merck's osteoporosis drug Fosamax 
  • Pfizer's hypertension drug Norvasc.

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