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Big Ten Branded Drug Blockbusters of 2010

World’s Top Selling Branded Pharmaceuticals


Even with increased competition, a significant drop in the value of the dollar, growing pressure to contain costs, and regulatory agencies pulling some big sellers off the market, global pharmaceutical sales grew to $850 billion in 2010. That's a 4 to 5 percent growth rate from 2009, according to IMS Health. Generics and biopharmaceuticals, as expected, took on a bigger share of the market.

Pfizer's cholesterol drug remained the top selling branded drug in 2010, despite generic competition and three recalls.

1. Lipitor

Sales: $11.4 billion

Generic name: atorvastan

Pfizer's cholesterol drug Lipitor remained the top selling branded drug in 2010, despite generic competition and three recalls.

Lipitor  is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, or statin. It lowers the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.


2. Plavix

Sales: $9.6 billion

Generic name: clopidogrel bisulfate

Plavix, a blood clot prevention medication, is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis. Plavix was to lose its U.S. market protection in May 2012 but in January 2010, the FDA extended Bristol-Myers's patent for six additional months.

3. Enbrel

Sales: $8.4 billion

Generic name: etanercept

Enbrel is a biologic medication that blocks a protein called tumor necrosis factor. Enbrel is prescribed for inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis), plaque psoriasis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Enbrel, marketed by Amgen, will be the first biologic drug to lose its patent.

4. Advair Diskus

Sales: $7.8 billion

Generic name: fluticasone; salmetrol

Advair Diskus is prescribed for the management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD) symptoms.

Sales of GlaxxoSmithKline's Advair fell slightly short of analysts' projections, partly due to loss of patent protection in several European countries.

5. Remicade

Sales: $7.4 billion

Generic name: infliximab

Remicade is prescibed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and Chron's disease.

Merck (through its purchase of Schering-Plough) has distribution rights to Remicade while Johnson & Johnson had a co-marketing agreement with SP.

6. Avastin

Sales: $6.9 billion

Generic name: bevacizumab

Genentech's Avastin is a chemotherapy drug used to treat certain cancers of the colon, rectum and lung cancer. In December 2010, the FDA cautioned doctors and patients that Avastin carries serious risks as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. In November 2011 the agency formally revoked its approval of Avastin for metastatic breast cancer.

7. Rituxan

Sales: $6.5 billion

Generic name: rituximab

Rituximab is a biologic antineoplastic agent used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. In January 2011 the FDA granted Roche approval to distribute the drug as a treatment for follicular lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

8. Diovan

Sales: $6.1 billion

Generic name: valsartan

Marketed by Novartis.

9. Crestor

Sales: $5.8 billion

Generic name: rosuvastatin

Marketed by AstraZeneca.

10. Humira

Sales: $5.4 billion

Generic name: adalimumab 

Abbot Laboratories

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