RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - February 24, 2010) -  Half of pharmaceutical companies deploy special task forces to plan for drugs' eventual patent expirations.

Early results from Cutting Edge Information's ongoing survey, "Counter-Generics Tactics and Biosimilars," show that 50% of surveyed companies create a dedicated team to protect their brands and stave off aggressive generic competition. These teams help to set short- and long-term strategies that run from innovative new R&D to field-based counter-promotion.

Planning for patent expiration and impending generic competition is critically important for many of the world's drug companies. Brands collectively worth tens of billions of dollars will lose patent protection over the next two years -- including two of the best-selling brands in history, Pfizer's Lipitor and Merck's Advair.

"For blockbuster brands, a counter-generics strategy can provide hundreds of millions -- or even billions -- of dollars in revenue if implemented properly," said Ryan McGuire, lead analyst for the study. "Defending patents in court is only a small part of the story. Many companies create a dedicated team to tackle all of the marketing and clinical pieces of a brand-defense strategy."

The employee functions represented on the task force vary by company, but product managers typically lead the group. FTEs from other departments such as market research, regulatory affairs, legal/patents, lifecycle management, strategic planning and clinical development are also commonly present in this dedicated group.

"Generic competition is part of any drug's lifecycle. Maximizing revenue in the face of that competition requires input from many different functions within a company," McGuire said.

Survey respondents will receive complimentary findings by completing the survey before March 5 at

The survey explores data on the effectiveness of different counter-generics strategies while also looking at the ever-changing world of biosimilars. Findings will allow survey respondents to:

  • Build marketing strategies, such as effective pricing and counter-promotion to maximize lifetime revenue.
  • Develop timelines for evergreening and counter-generics tactics, including new formulations, new indications, combination drugs, and authorized generics.
  • Explore detailed strategies and tactics used to extend patent life, including litigation, citizen petition and pediatric exclusivity.
  • Track data on the evolution of biosimilars.

In exchange for completing a survey, respondents receive a copy of the results when they become available.

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Stephanie Swanson