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Top-Selling Drugs About to Lose Patent Protection

The pharmaceutical industry is about to fall off a cliff -- a patent cliff. Over the next few years, some of the world's most popular and lucrative medicines will go off patent, and generic competition will siphon an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars from companies' bottom lines. Here's a rundown:

GlaxoSmithKline Settles 10,000 Avandia Lawsuits

GlaxoSmithKline, whose diabetes drug Avandia is undergoing a safety review by the FDA, has agreed to pay about $460 million to resolve about 10,000 lawsuits from users of the drug, which can allegedly cause heart attacks and strokes.

FDA Panel Scrutinizing Diabetes Drug Avandia

On Tuesday, the FDA will convene a panel of experts to discuss GlaxoSmithKline's type II diabetes drug Avandia. Once a blockbuster, sales of the drug have dropped by more than half since studies suggested it significantly increases risk for serious heart problems.

Avandia Linked to Heart Attacks in Two New Studies

GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia once again captured headlines Monday morning after two new studies linked it to heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications. The authors of the studies say the results should prompt the FDA to pull the drug from the market.