American Generics Can't Touch This $8 Billion Drug (Yet)

Intellectual property laws today allow a company 20 years of patent protection from the date of filing. That's a bit different from the former laws that granted 17 years of protection from the date of issuance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Depending on how quickly an application moves through the office, a company today could enjoy an extra year or two of protection compared to the previous precedent. Unless, of course, you are Amgen  (NASDAQ: AMGN  ) .

By the time the last patent for TNF-alpha inhibitor Enbrel expires, it will have been on the market for 30 years! How is that possible? The patent was filed in 1995, reworked, rejected, appealed, reworked again, and finally accepted in late 2011. But because it was originally filed under the old laws, it was granted 17 years of protection from the date of issuance: 2011. So, although Enbrel first hit the market in 1998, it won't face total generic competition until 2028. Not even that has stopped a flurry of generic competition from arising, which Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko explains in the following video. 

Obamacare will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects. The Motley Fool's new free report, "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare," lets you know how your health insurance, your taxes, and your portfolio could be affected. Click here to read more. 

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  • Report this Comment On June 17, 2013, at 2:50 PM, PEStudent wrote:

    It used to be, back in the 90's, that a Fool article made important points about stocks. Now it just gives a tease to the Fool's "new free report" -which is not free in terms of the amount of spam mail that occurs after you get it for exchange of an email address.

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