SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

October 18, 2007 07:26 ET

Cutting Edge Information Claims 34% of Drug Companies Craft Counter-Generics Plans at Product Launch

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - October 18, 2007) - Thirty-four percent of pharmaceutical companies in a recent survey begin planning counter-generics strategies by the time a drug launches, according to a new study by Cutting Edge Information (http://www.PharmaGenerics.com).

The majority of product teams wait until well after launch to start thinking about the end of their drugs' lives. Such a delay can be costly. Counter-generics planning is an important part of a drug's lifecycle strategy, since patent expiration -- and competition from eager generics manufacturers -- is inevitable.

Now, with generics companies showing legal aggression and a willingness to challenge patents years ahead of scheduled expiration, long-term planning helps prevent the early loss of market exclusivity. The most effective tools to prolong drug life come out of the lab: new product formulations, next-generation drugs and combination products, for example, are all effective counter-generics weapons.

These options often require years of testing, so companies considering them must plan long lead-times into their counter-generics calendars. Starting early in a drug's lifecycle is critical if companies hope to maintain revenue beyond patent expiration.

The survey also found that more than 30% of companies do not start planning a counter-generics strategy until six years after launch. At this point, the patent generally has only a few years of life remaining. Quicker but less effective strategies, such as counter-promotion and patent litigation, are often the only options left to brand teams.

"Price competition with generics companies is always a low-profit scenario, and patent litigation is an unreliable strategy at best," said Eric Bolesh, research team leader at Cutting Edge Information. "Strategies such as new formulations or next-generation drugs rely on superior products to continue the revenue stream." Such solutions provide extended patent protection and market exclusivity. "With these tools, the profit potential is large and extends over years rather than months," said Bolesh.

Findings from Cutting Edge Information's counter-generics research is available in "Combating Generics 2008: Counter-Generics Strategy, Tactics and Execution," a report that examines counter-generics activity at more than 30 different companies. The report covers investment levels, planning and implementation timelines and the prominence of different tools and tactics in the fight against generics. The report's findings also explore case studies and the experiences of real-world brand teams.

Free summary of this 159-page report: http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/pharmagenerics/PH105_Download.asp#body.

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