Overpatented, Overpriced: Special Humira Edition

The following case study on Humira is the first of a series of in-depth investigations into the best-selling medicines in I-MAK's Overpatented, Overpriced report.

Download the Report


  • 247 patent applications have been filed on Humira in the U.S. with the aim of delaying competition for 39 years
  • 89% of the total patent applications on Humira in the U.S. were filed after the drug was first approved and on the market.
  • Nearly 50% percent of the applications in the U.S. were filed by AbbVie from 2014 onwards – this is more than 20 years after the initial scientific research began and more than a decade after the product was first marketed.
  • Total spending by Medicare and Medicaid increased 266% on Humira between 2012 and 2016, and the average spending on Humira per person more than doubled from $16,000 to $33,000.
  • In 2016 the $3.3 billion spent on the drug by Medicare and Medicaid accounted for 31 cents of every dollar spent on Humira in the U.S.
  • AbbVie has filed over three times as many patent applications in the U.S. than at the European Patent Office. Biosimilars will enter the European market four years earlier than in the U.S. This extended monopoly is estimated to cost American payers and taxpayers an excess of $14.4 billion.

AbbVie’s pricing practices are protected by an aggressive evergreening patent strategy to extend the life cycle of Humira in order to deliberately delay competition. The overpatenting of Humira and other medicines puts a strain not only America’s public health care budgets, but also undermines the health and financial well-being of individuals and families throughout the country.

Overpatented, Overpriced

Download the Special Edition report Read Overpatented, Overpriced

Join us to stay updated
and help make lifesaving medicines accessible to all