What happens when a product loses its patent protection?

Sep 24, 2021 | Generics, UK Brands

Here is a good example of what happens when a product loses its patent protection. The first point is that the UK price, the price pharmacies and dispensing doctors would pay, has remained fairly consistent over the last 10 years. This is apart from a few sudden dips which may be wholesalers describing a parallel import (PI) as UK brand.

The next point is that the price for the parallel import was very close to the UK price until Efient Tabs 10mg 28 lost its patent protection and generic Prasugrel Tabs 10mg 28 was launched. Since then the average PI price has dropped from about £44 to about £32.

The average generic price fell rapidly after generic launch (Mar 2019) and in Aug 2021 sat at £4.43. This has been shadowed by the English drug tariff, leaving just enough of a gap between the two to allow pharmacies to make a profit.

Sometimes prices for generic products fall so low that generic manufacturers fail to order more stock, which in about 20% of cases can result in a price bounce. Normally as the generic price undercuts the parallel import and the UK brand the companies which make and import these stop doing so. This is because in the UK over 80% of prescriptions are written generically. However, some branded manufactures do brand equalisation deals with major wholesalers and pharmacy groups, which allows them to keep the brand on pharmacy shelves despite the low generic prices.

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