Bioethics News

This Shield of Patents Protects the World’s Best-Selling Drug

September 8, 2017

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Humira, a treatment for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis made by AbbVie Inc., is the planet’s best-selling drug. It’s also been around almost 15 years. Those two facts alone would normally have rival drugmakers eagerly circling, ready to roll out generic versions that could win a piece of the aging medicine’s $16 billion in annual sales. Yet last year, when the patent on Humira’s main ingredient expired, not a single competitor launched a copycat version. Figuring out how to manufacture it wasn’t the obstacle. The real challenge was the seemingly impregnable fortress of patents AbbVie has methodically constructed around its prized moneymaker.

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Image: By Black Stripe at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26581981

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Bloomberg Businessweek

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The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.