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According to the New York Times, the curtain is expected to come down next week on a monopoly for the anti-inflammatory medication, Humira, that has generated $114 billion in revenue for AbbVie just since the end of 2016.


  1. Briefly explain AbbVie’s  legal exploitation of the U.S. patent system.
  2. How much more did patients spend from 2016 to 2019 on Humira than they would have if competitors had been allowed to start selling their drugs over this period?
  3. What other companies have deployed tactics similar to AbbVie to maximize profits on drugs for the treatment of cancer, anxiety and heartburn?
  4. Humira is referred to as a biosimilar. What does that classification mean?


Robbins, R. (2023). How a Drug Company Made $114 Billion by Gaming the U.S. Patent System. The New York Times, Jan. 28 (Retrievable online at