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I spent a slice of my 22 years as a business journalist covering the biotech sector. So I understand the challenging dynamic that drug companies face.
The first challenge is a big one: It can take a company as long as a decade and between $1 billion and $2.6 billion to develop a new drug.
And the second challenge is daunting, too: Even after that drug gets approved and hits the market, the company usually has only seven to 12 years of remaining patent protection in order to recoup those billions and make a profit besides.
That window is a tight one: Once a drug patent expires, as much as 80% of the treatment's brand-name sales can vanish within a year as generic competitors reach the market.
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