The role of generic drugs in the EU

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Today, generic medicines play an essential role in treating disease by increasing the accessibility and affordability of modern day pharmaceuticals.

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Generic drugs provide many benefits in Europe, including:

  • stimulating competition after patent expiry:
    – 10–30 companies competing on one product
    – providing price cuts of 30–90% after patent expiry
  • providing economic value – they are a major contributor to employment and development in the EU
  • providing nearly 50% all medicines dispensed in the EU and 18% of pharmaceutical sales
  • the generic drugs industry is becoming the major provider of medicines today and this is expected to increase in the future
  • generating savings of more than Euros 30 billion per year in the EU
  • compensating for some of the rising expenditure due to the ageing population
  • providing continuity of supply:
    – originator drug may no longer be on the market after patent expiry because of low volume demand
    – generic drugs often remain on the market, meeting the need of patients
    – generic drugs are typically multi-sourced which assists continuity of supply for particular medicines at times of increased demand.

Generic medicines provide an opportunity to obtain similar treatments at lower costs for patients and payers, while liberating budgets for financing new innovative medicines.

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Generic applications in the EU, patents and exclusivity

Source: EGA, IMS Health

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