Schering AG took a knocking yesterday after the US Food and Drug Administration revealed that an unnamed company had filed an application to market a copycat version of the German company’s top-selling oral contraceptive, Yasmin (ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone).

No-one from Schering was available for comment at the time of going to press, but the firm will not likely take the news lying down. Although Yasmin was recently awarded an additional patent, which covers the drug’s formulation in the USA until 2020 [[16/09/04c]], the company will be keen to keep hold of the product as it is seen as one of the keys to its future performance.

Yasmin generated 429 million euros in sales last year – up 56% on the previous year [[09/02/05b]] – and is the leading branded oral contraceptive in the USA, with total market share above 10%. It is the German firm’s second best selling drug behind the multiple sclerosis offering, Betaferon/Betaseron (interferon beta-1b).