Drug patent expirations of 2018 - The Top 15

Article from Fierce Pharma by Eric Sagonowsky - April 3, 2018


Each year, dozens of branded pharmaceutical products lose their patent protections in a process that routinely paves the way for cheap generics. This year is no different, and the drugs opening up to copycat competitors represent some serious sales heft. And as usual, you'll see some household names at the top of the list of U.S. expirations.

What's different these days can be summed up in one word: biosimilars. In the past, patent expirations brought immediate generic competition and the sales hit that come along with them. Now, with biosimilar development a more spendy and complicated proposition—not to mention the delays triggered by the biosimilar pathway's "patent dance"—a patent loss doesn't necessarily open the gates to copycats.

Our No. 1 entry is a case in point. Leading all other drugs in this year’s top 15 patent expirations is Roche’s megablockbuster Rituxan. The drug's patent expiration comes as a biosimilar threat to that company continues to creep into the picture, forcing Roche to look to new launches for growth.

Next up is another: Amgen's Neulasta, a white blood cell booster that could face biosim competition this year from Mylan, provided its version wins FDA approval. The drug's patent expired in 2015, but so far, biosimilars haven't made it past FDA gatekeepers.

Thanks to examples like these—where a patent is newly lost but biosims are uncertain, or where IP protections are already down but the brand still doesn't face head-to-head copies—FiercePharma broadened its criteria for inclusion in this report to better reflect the generic and biosim threats. We allowed drugs that face 2018 patent expirations, even if copycat launch timing isn't certain, plus drugs whose patents previously expired but could face brand-new biosimilar or generic competition this year.

One more straightforward loss is Pfizer’s legendary Lyrica. Its market exclusivity expires with a December patent loss—if, that is, the New York drugmaker isn’t able to win a pediatric exclusivity that would extend its monopoly for six months and push competition into next year.

Moving down the list, products from companies large and small face 2018 patent expirations. The report features treatments that have sparked controversy—Allergan’s Restasis, for example—and even a drug that made last year’s rundown of top patent expirations: Lilly’s Cialis. That blockbuster drug was set for a patent loss last year, before Eli Lilly inked a patent settlement to secure a few more months of branded sales. Together, the 15 branded drugs on our list were worth nearly $26 billion in U.S. sales last year.

With complex patent shields, litigation and regulatory setbacks, the story surrounding each of these patent expirations and newly vulnerable drugs is ever-changing. This report is designed to be a point-in-time look at the situation surrounding each drug. The lineup could shift by year's end, thanks to decisions from the FDA, the courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office—and the companies themselves, as in the case of Cialis.


The top 15 drug patent expirations of 2018

1. Rituxan

2. Neulasta

3. Lyrica

4. Advair

5. Xolair

6. Epogen/Procrit

7. Restasis

8. Cialis

9. Sensipar

10. Zytiga

11. Letairis

12. Remodulin

13. NuvaRing

14. Ampyra

15. Namenda XR

More on which drug patents expire in 2018

It’s not uncommon for a drug to have a dozen or more patents covering everything from the active ingredient to the delivery mechanism, to whether the biologic is a fully humanized or not. If the respective IP is submitted at different times, the patents may expire years apart.


Adding to the confusion is the fickle nature of the patent cliff. Exclusivity timelines wax and wane with competitor lawsuits or incentives such as pediatric exclusivity, which delay the generic onslaught by a full six months.

So, with all those caveats in mind, here’s a round-up of prescription drugs set to expire in 2018 — based on current information.


The list began with the National Pharmaceutical Services (NPS) calendar of medications coming off-patent by 2022. This was cross-referenced with the FDA’s ‘Orange Book,’ which provides up-to-date information on the status of brand-name and generic drugs; Drugs.com’s generic availability database; and the Therapeutic Research Center’s ‘Anticipated Availability of First-Time Generics’ list. For biologic drugs, The Center for Biosimilars and a range of news sources were factored in — due to the absence of Orange Book data.

  1. Acanya, (benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin) – July 1, 2018
  2. Adcirca (tadalafil) – May 21, 2018
  3. Ampyra (dalfampridine) July 30, 2018
  4. Apidra (insulin glulisine) – June 2018
  5. Cialis (tadalafil) – September 27, 2018
  6. Fentora (fentanyl) – March 26, 2019
  7. Finacea (azelaic acid) – November 18, 2018
  8. Follistim (follitropin beta) – January 14, 2018
  9. Fortesta (testosterone) – November 9, 2018
  10. Levitra/Staxyn (vardenafil) – October 31, 2018
  11. Lexiva (fosamprenavir) – June 2018.
  12. Lotronex (alosetron) – October 5, 2018
  13. Lyrica (pregabalin) – December 30, 2018
  14. Makena (hydroxyprogesterone) – February 3, 2018
  15. Promacta (eltrombopag) – October 30, 2018
  16. Rapaflo (Silodosin) – December 1, 2018
  17. Remodulin (treprostinil) – June 26, 2018
  18. Sensipar tablet (cinacalcet) – March 8, 2018
  19. Spiriva (tiotropium) – July 30, 2018
  20. Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol) – September 9, 2018
  21. Tekamlo (aliskiren) – July 21, 2018
  22. Tekturna HCT (aliskiren/hctz) – July 21, 2018
  23. Tikosyn (dofetilide) – October 9, 2018
  24. Treximet (naproxen/sumatriptan) – February 14, 2018
  25. Tyvaso (treprostinil) – November 13, 2018
  26. Vesicare (solifenacin) – October 19, 2018

Continue reading article from MedCityNews by Juliet Preston - Jan12, 2018 


Photo of a capsule with Dollars inside - symbold for expiring drug patents in 2018
Picture: MedCityNews - Which drug patents expire in 2018?