A new study demonstrates the cost to the U.S. health care system from an anti-competitive tactic known as “product hopping,” which involves a brand name drug company moving patients to a new reformulated version of a drug when an existing drug’s exclusivity is close to expiring.

The study by Alex Brill of Matrix Global Advisors, commissioned by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs, finds that product hopping for the brand drugs Prilosec, TriCor, Suboxone, Doryx and Namenda cost the U.S. health care system $4.7 billion annually.

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