Stahl says that when the public suddenly became aware of anthrax as a potential threat, "we answered the call of the government,
but it put us in another predicament."
A major part of the national discussion was the idea that the government should break Bayer's patent so other manufacturers
could make Cipro, because there were concerns that the company simply couldn't make enough for the entire country post 9/11.
Bayer reassured the public that the supply wouldn't be a problem, but also became one of the first companies to authorize
a generic. This has become a more common practice among pharma companies battling generic competition. It's also become more
By the Book
As Cipro moved into the latter phases of its lifecycle, Bayer looked for an analogous product to study in order to learn how
to manage the product. The company chose the antibiotic Augmentin, which handled its patent expiry well; the team was encouraged
to see that Augmentin grew 6 percent after the launches of the generic and its own extended-release formulation. And Bayer
ended up doing pretty well too, with Cipro sales actually flattening out since the generic and extended-release launches,
compared with where they were last year. The best part is, CiproXR is doing well so far and Avelox, the "above the belt" part
of their franchise, is gaining market share in RTI prescriptions—and making up for the company's losses in Cipro BID sales.
Stahl says that the team "did it by the book, even though they didn't mean to." Some of her colleagues say the lifecycle of
Cipro actually helped write the book, because they had no cases to learn from in those early years. In a world where the global
market for existing antibiotics is estimated at $25 billion, few companies are undertaking antibiotic research, despite the
urging of public health officials and physicians. And in an economic environment that is increasingly discouraging the industry's
investment in research and development for anything other than new molecular entities, few companies are doing lifecycle management
for their currently marketed products. Bayer is doing both, a testament to its commitment to its products, its pipeline, and
the public health—but not necessarily in that order.