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Blockbuster Drug

Blockbuster Drug

What Is a Blockbuster Drug?

A blockbuster drug is a very famous drug that creates annual sales of no less than $1 billion for the company that sells it. Instances of blockbuster drugs incorporate Vioxx, Lipitor, and Zoloft. Blockbuster drugs are commonly used to deal with common medical issues like high cholesterol, diabetes, high circulatory strain, asthma, and disease.

Understanding a Blockbuster Drug

Drug companies spend a lot of time and money on the research and development (R&D) of new medications. The research and development interaction can require years and cost a huge number of dollars. At the point when a drug company makes a medication that works effectively and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they can sell the medication at a high price to recover the R&D expenses, as well as creating a gain.

Since these medications accompany a patent, the drug company is the main company permitted to sell it for a predefined period of time, frequently numerous years. Fundamentally, the pharma company has a monopoly on this medication and can charge any price.

At the point when the patent terminates, many companies flood the market with generic forms of the medication at an essentially discounted price than the original, cleaning away the monopoly and making a competitive market. This essentially cuts into the original medication's sales, negatively affecting the pharma company that made it.

A blockbuster medication can be a major factor in a drug company's prosperity. In any case, it can likewise lead to major issues for a company in the event that the medication is found to make dangerous side impacts or is reviewed subsequent to being delivered. This can result in litigation, high legal fees, and huge monetary compensation to impacted users of the medication.

Biggest Blockbuster Drugs

Probably the biggest blockbuster medications ever, with lifetime sales of more than $100 billion starting around 2018, are as per the following:


Company: Pfizer

Treats: High cholesterol

Lifetime sales: $164 billion

Warner-Lambert originally created Lipitor and it was approved in the U.S. in 1997. Pfizer acquired Warner-Lambert in 2000 to gain sole ownership of the medication; a shrewd investment. Lipitor would ultimately represent one-fourth of Pfizer's total sales. The patent expired in 2011, however Lipitor actually lives on for Pfizer as a blockbuster drug, with the vast majority of its sales coming from China and overseas markets. Lipitor produced $2 billion in sales for Pfizer in 2019. This is a critical decline, notwithstanding, when compared to sales in 2011, the last year Pfizer had the patent. Sales for Lipitor that year were somewhat more than $9 billion.


Company: AbbVie

Treats: Ankylosing spondylitis, joint inflammation, Crohn's disease, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis

Lifetime sales: $137 billion

Humira is owned by AbbVie, a 2013 side project from Abbott Labs. Specialists like Humira's ability to balance aggravation brought about by several diseases. The medication lost patent protection in 2018 and the FDA has approved five generic forms. In any case, this has not affected Humira sales at this point, which brought in $15 billion in incomes in 2019 for AbbVie. AbbVie has likewise been reliably raising the price of Humira.


Company: GlaxoSmithKline

Treats: Chronic obstructive pneumonic disease, asthma

Lifetime sales: $104 billion

Advair is utilized to treat asthma and breathing from other lung diseases. Advair accepted its endorsement in 2001 and has been a big seller starting from the beginning. The medication's U.S. patent expired in 2010 and its inhaler pattern expired in 2016, however no fruitful generic contender surfaced until 2019. The issue was not the medication yet rather the gadget, which was hard to imitate around the FDA's severe medication gadget patent laws. The generic medication is made by Mylan and costs 70% not exactly Advair. It is expected that sales of Advair will fundamentally diminish.


  • Common blockbuster drugs are Vioxx, Lipitor, and Zoloft.
  • At the point when a medication's patent terminates, the market is flooded with generic medications, negatively influencing sales of the blockbuster drug.
  • Blockbuster drugs are utilized for common afflictions, for example, diabetes, cholesterol, high circulatory strain, and disease, that numerous people face.
  • A blockbuster drug is an exceptionally well known drug that creates annual sales of $1 at least billion for the company that sells it.
  • Drug companies spend truckload of cash on research and development (R&D) and sell an effective medication at a high price to recover losses and earn a profit.