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Pfizer Inc (PFE) Financial News - Novartis Has Blockbuster Diovan Plans After Patent Expires

Pfizer Inc (PFE)

Novartis Has Blockbuster Diovan Plans After Patent Expires

Quote: Pfizer Inc. (PFE), are cutting back on expensive research and development to save cash. Jimenez, only 13 months away from the U.S. patent expiration of his company’s best-selling drug, Diovan, doesn’t feel pressed to do either, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Aug. 8 edition. Instead, he’s targeting administrative costs while aggressively promoting medicines in emerging markets and cranking out new drugs from his own labs. The longtime consumer-products executive is betting Novartis can maintain a third of the $6.1 billion in annual sales of Diovan, a hypertension drug, by focusing on sales in emerging markets. While that may seem like a big drop, it’s smaller than the post-patent nose dives suffered by former blockbusters such as Pfizer’s Norvasc hypertension pill and Merck & Co.’s cholesterol drug, Zocor. “We can get through the Diovan patent expiration if things go to plan,” Jimenez said in an interview at Novartis’s Basel, Switzerland, headquarters. “The market hasn’t digested that fully.” Shares Decline Europe Pharmaceutical Index. The company also faces the loss of patents on its second-best seller, the cancer medicine Gleevec, starting in 2014. That puts an additional $4.27 billion in annual sales at risk. Justin Smith in London. Latin AmericaAsia, where the blood pressure medicine already competes largely without patent protection, will help keep its blockbuster status. Keep $2 Billion Sales Diovan sales are rising in those fast-growing parts of the world even though the drug costs more than generic versions. Many patients in markets where drug counterfeiting is widespread are willing to pay more for a brand’s perceived quality. Jimenez figures he can expand promotion of the drug to doctors in these markets aggressively enough to retain at least $2 billion in Diovan sales worldwide. If he’s right, the strategy might buy him time...
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