LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- By the end of next year, seven of the 20 top selling prescription drugs will lose their patents, making way for less expensive generic versions.
The generic drug blitz is expected to significantly lower the cost consumers are paying for medications such as cholesterol fighting Lipitor and the blood thinner Plavix.
Lipitor is the world's top selling medication with an estimated 4.3 million Americans currently taking it. Its patent will expire in November of this year.
Plavix is taken by 1.4 million people in the US. Its patent expires in May next year.
Antipsychotic drug Zyprexa loses its patent in October 2011, while psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis drug, Enbrel will lose its patent in October 2012.
Patients, taxpayers, business and health insurance companies are expected to save billions, since generic versions can cost up to 80% less than the brand name version, experts say.
According to the FDA, generic drugs are just as effective as brand named ones, but some argue that generic versions have uneven safety records.
Over the next 10 years, an estimated 120 more brand-name prescription drugs will lose their patents.
The US is one of the most expensive countries in the world for prescription medications.
Prescription Drug Costs Expected To Plummet
7 of the 20 top selling prescription drugs will lose their patents by the end of next year
Generic drug blitz expected to cut costs of prescription medication (GETTY IMAGES)