Leading pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) reported a 2% decline in revenue to US$22.5 billion in 2017, with product sales in Europe falling by 6% to US$4.7 billion because of generic competition. The company announced in early 2018 that its inhaler for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) PT010 showed improved lung function in a late stage trial, meaning competition for GlaxoSmithKline’s (NYSE: GSK) Trelegy Ellipta.
With the number of generic drug approvals rising and new wave of biosimilars on its way, more competition for new brands is expected in 2018. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported that 13 applications for European marketing approval for generic drugs were still under review in January 2018, including a generic version of AstraZeneca’s lung cancer treatment Iressa, and Janssen Pharmaceutica’s (NYSE: JNJ) potent opioid anesthetic Sufenta (sufentanil). There were also 16 biosimilar applications under review as of January 2018, including one for diabetes treatment insulin glargine.