Big pharma company AbbVie made $114bn from Humira by tying competitors up in ... trends now
The pharmaceutical company producing the arthritis drug Humira made billions off patients and taxpayers by tying up competitors in lawsuits for years after its patent was due to expire in 2016.
Drug company AbbVie raked in at least $114billion over the last seven years by setting up a complex series of patents around Humira, and suing any competitors that tried to enter the market with knockoffs known as biosimilars.
Prices were expected to drop significantly for patients in 2016, but using its patent tactics AbbVie managed to raise prices by 60 percent, costing some users up to $80,000 per year.
Relief could finally be in sight as next week the first biosimilar of the drug is due to hit the market - Amjevita from Amgen, first approved to enter the market nearly seven years ago - with a wave of other brands that have spent years tied up by AbbVie's efforts coming close behind.
Some experts have cautioned patients not to expect significant changes, explaining price cuts might only benefit insurance companies and middlemen and leave patients with minimal discounts.
Offices for the drug company AbbVie located in Mettawa, Illinois
Humira treats rheumatoid arthritis, along with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and a number of other autoimmune conditions. It is also used to treat psoriasis
Humira was first approved for use in 2002 as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Since then, it has been used to treat Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and a number of other autoimmune conditions. It is also used to treat psoriasis and other skin conditions.
AbbVie has raised the price on Humira 30 times since it entered the market, and made at least $208billion, according to The New York Times - more than half of that was made since 2016.
That year AbbVie's patent on the drug expired, and biosimilars - drugs with similar effects but different processes and ingredients - were due to enter the market reduce prices for patients.
AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez blamed the Medicare system for shackling customers with exorbitant prices
A syringe of Humira. It was first approved for use in 2002
But AbbVie applied for a litany of patents - at least 311, 165 of which were granted - surrounding