In the U.S., prices for brand-name drugs are soaring, just as patents expire on some blockbuster medications like Lipitor and Plavix and as the pharmaceutical industry watches for the future of healthcare reform. Prices for the 15 best-selling drugs rose by much higher rates in 2010 than over each of the last five years, but $25.4 billion in U.S. drug sales will face generic competition this year as patents expire on big name medications. About $26.1 billion in sales, which represents 9 per cent of a $300 billion market, will lose patent protection in the next year. IMS Health estimates the U.S. healthcare system will get at least $70 billion in savings over the next four years as generics move in to replace higher cost brand names.
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