“Amgen said Tuesday that a new patent had been granted that could protect its big-selling drug Enbrel from generic competition for 17 more years, a development that could undermine some of the savings contemplated in the federal health care legislation.
Enbrel, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, was one of several biotechnology drugs that were expected to face competition in the next few years from copycat versions, eventually saving the health care system billions of dollars a year. [...]
The main patent on Enbrel was to expire in October of next year. But the new patent could stave off such biosimilar competition until Nov. 22, 2028. By that time, Enbrel will have been on the market 30 years, far longer than the 20 years of protection expected in patent law.”