by Christopher Freeburn | August 6, 2012 11:52 am
Drug maker Merck (NYSE:MRK) is about to see roughly two-thirds of sales for one of its most popular medications disappear.
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the okay to ten pharmaceutical makers to sell generic forms of Merck’s asthma drug, Singulair, Reuters noted.
Merck’s patent exclusivity on Singulair, which generates $5 billion in annual sales for the company, expired this year.
Among the manufacturers awarded permission to make generic versions of Singulair are Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:TEVA), Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL).
In order to compensate for the projected losses in Singulair sales, Merck is scrambling to develop new drugs. The company will apply for FDA approval on six new drugs over the coming year and a half.
Shares of Merck moved up fractionally in Monday morning trading.
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