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At least three generic versions of the popular osteoporosis treatment Fosamax are now available in the US after the drug’s main patent expired.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Barr Pharmaceuticals have already started selling generic versions of the drug, which is manufactured by Merck & Co.
Merck has already announced that it is also making a generic version of the drug, which will be distributed by Watson Pharmaceuticals.
Fosamax was Merck’s third best selling drug last year, with sales totalling $3.05bn. However, although it has long dominated the market for drugs that fight the bone-thinning disease, sales were down 3% from 2006 due to tougher competition.
When Merck recently released its fourth-quarter and year-end results, the company forecast that revenues from the drug would only hit about $1.4bn this year.
Watson said it will sell the generic drug, under the chemical name alendronate sodium, in both 35 milligram and 70 milligram doses.
Merck will manufacture the tablets, and Watson will market and distribute them in the United States, with Merck getting an undisclosed share of the profits.
Meanwhile, Barr said it has launched a 70-milligram generic version, while Teva has launched generic versions which are available in doses of 5, 10, 35, 40 and 70 milligrams.
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