For the 39 brand-name inhalers approved by FDA in 2000 through 2021, manufacturers earned $67.2 billion when primary patents were in effect, a study shows. Secondary patents enhanced these earnings, with companies bringing in $110.3 billion; after all patents had expired, income dropped to only $613 million. These figures respectively represent 38%, 62%, and less than 1% of the total income.
“Advair (fluticasone and salmeterol) had the highest revenue at $68.2 billion (38% earned before primary patent expiration and 62% after) followed by Spiriva (tiotropium) at $30.5 billion (85% earned before primary patent expiration and 15% after),” the researchers report. “Ninety-eight percent of the $110.3 billion earned by manufacturers on inhaler lines that were protected exclusively by secondary patents accrued during periods when these products faced no generic competition.”