The Drugmakers Vs. The Trustbusters

Last fall, Upjohn Co. was on the brink of losing a mother lode. Xanax, its blockbuster tranquilizer, would reach the end of its 17-year patent term in October. Without the legal monopoly patent protection provides, the little pills of blue, pink, or white could expect lower-priced generic substitutes to flood the market and eat away at market share and earnings. So the Kalamazoo (Mich.) company made a preemptive strike: It released its own generic form of Xanax a month before the patent expired and before competitors could bring out their versions.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.