FDA’s list of off-patent drugs suggests higher approvals of first generics in 2022
We usher in 2023 with the key highlights of the US Food and Drug Administration’s December 2022 list of Off-Patent, Off-Exclusivity (OPOE) Drugs with No Approved Generics. With this list, the FDA hopes to bolster competitiveness in the generics market.The OPOE list gets updated every six months. Such updates are a part of FDA’s initiative to improve transparency and encourage the development and submission of abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) in markets with little competition.Since 2017, the FDA has been publishing the OPOE list of drugs without an approved generic. For a year now, the FDA has been publishing two versions of the OPOE list — one for prescription drug products and one for over-the-counter (OTC) drug products that are approved and marketed under a new drug approval (NDA).View FDA's 2022 List of Off-Patent and Off-Exclusivity Drugs (Free Excel)Four new applications added to Dec 2022 list; 96 first generics approved last yearWhile the FDA’s June 2022 list of OPOE Drugs with No Approved Generics had 98 new applications for prescription drugs, the December 2022 list saw a sharp decline — only four new applications were added during this period. We had witnessed a similar trend in 2021 — the December 2021 list had only 16 new applications as opposed to 35 new applications in the June 2021 list.The four new applications were for diclofenamide (a drug to treat glaucoma), ephedrine sulfate (a drug used to treat asthma and heart failure that also acts as a central nervous system stimulant), meloxicam (an arthritis drug) and pemetrexed (a chemotherapy medication). In May 2022, the FDA approved the first generics for pemetrexed injection developed by several companies, including Accord Healthcare, Fresenius Kabi, Apotex, Qilu Pharmaceutical, Biocon, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Zydus, to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and mesothelioma. Almost one-third of the prescription products – 184 out of 505 – are drug products delivered as injectables, and 68 entries are for oral solid dosage forms (such as tablets, capsules and modified release forms).In the June 2022 list, a total of 60 OTC drug products were listed. This time too, the same number of OTC drug products figured in the OPOE list. These include antiseptic agent chlorhexidine gluconate, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen, anti-allergy drug loratadine and painkiller acetaminophen. Of these, 19 are delivered as oral solid dosage forms (such as tablets, capsules and modified release forms).In 2022, the FDA approved 96 first generics. This is slightly higher than the 93 approved by the agency in 2021.As the name suggests, “first generics” are the first approvals handed by the FDA to manufacturers to market a generic product in the United States. The agency considers first generics to be important to public health, and prioritizes review of these submissions.View FDA's 2022 List of Off-Patent and Off-Exclusivity Drugs (Free Excel)AbbVie’s Humira, Novartis’ Entresto to finally face generic competitionAbbVie is facing one of the steepest patent cliffs in the industry’s history, with Humira slated to face the onslaught of eight biosimilars this year. The blockbuster drug had generated US$ 21.2 billion in 2021. Amgen’s Humira biosimilar – Amjevita – will hit the market this month. The other Humira biosimilars that will be launched this year include Abrilada (Pfizer), Cyltezo (Boehringer), Hadlima (Samsung Bioepis), Hyrimoz (Sandoz), Hulio (Viatris) and Yusimry (Coherus BioSciences). In mid-December, Fresenius Kabi became the latest company to win US approval for its Humira copycat — Idacio.Novartis’ heart failure drug Entresto will also go off patent this month. The blockbuster drug had generated US$ 3.5 billion in 2021.View FDA's 2022 List of Off-Patent and Off-Exclusivity Drugs (Free Excel)Our viewIn our previous OPOE drug listing, we had talked about FDA’s intent to bring down drug prices, with the agency putting 98 new applications of prescription drugs in the OPOE list for June 2022. That intent has only become stronger with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the FDA joining hands to promote competition. The two bodies are working towards improving the patent system in an effort to stop its misuse through “patent thickets”, “evergreening” and “product-hopping”. With this clear intent to lower drug prices in the US, the OPOE lists for 2023 and beyond are likely to get more interesting. For now, all eyes are set on what generic competition will do to blockbusters like AbbVie’s Humira and Novartis’ Entresto.

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05 Jan 2023