3 Generic Drug Stocks to Watch Amid Improving Market Prospects

For the quarter that ended June 2023, multiple generic drugmakers like Amphastar Pharmaceuticals AMPH, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories RDY and Teva Pharmaceutical TEVA noted that the generic price erosion in the United States has started to reduce. The trend is expected to continue for the rest of the year. Generic drugmakers also focus on new product launches or products with high gross margins to support their top and bottom line.

Industry Description

The Medical – Generic Drugs industry comprises companies that develop and market chemically/biologically identical versions of a brand-name drug once patents, providing exclusivity to branded drugs, expire. These drugs can be divided into generic and biosimilar categories based on their composition. The generic segment is controlled by a few large drugmakers and generic units of large pharma companies. However, several smaller companies also develop generic versions of branded drugs, significantly cheaper than the original drugs. Competition in this segment is stiff, resulting in thin margins for manufacturing companies. A few companies in this industry also have some branded drugs in their portfolio, which help them to tap a higher-margin market.

3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Generic Drugs Industry

Loss of Patent Exclusivity of Branded Drugs: Generic drugmakers mainly rely on the loss of patent exclusivity of branded drugs. They apply to the FDA to approve their generic or biosimilar version of branded drugs, which have lost patent protection. Patent loss of blockbuster drugs like AbbVie’s Humira provides significant opportunities for generic drugmakers in 2023. Several companies like Amgen and Novartis have launched their Humira-biosimilars this year. Many other companies are also expected to launch their Humira biosimilars at various times this year per settlement agreements with AbbVie.

A company may launch an authorized generic version of a branded product, gaining exclusivity over other generic versions of the same drug for several months. Although developing biosimilars is complex, the generic players have already launched a few. These generic drugmakers may have to face litigation to market the generic version of these drugs.

Stiff Competition: The generic drug industry competes with original branded drugs. Once a branded drug loses patent exclusivity and generic versions of the same are available in the market, it induces competition as the competitors set generic prices well below the brand price. The competition among multiple generic drugmakers to market the same drug pulls prices down, benefiting the consumer. As a result, the drugmakers aim for the medicines’ first-to-file (FTF) status. The current generic market is already crowded, with many drugmakers having several generic filings pending before the FDA. With several biosimilar drugs set for launch over the next couple of years, the top line of the industry players is likely to improve significantly.

Patent Settlements: The successful resolution of patent challenges continues to be an essential catalyst for the growth of generic drugmakers, as these can lead to product launches. The settlement of these challenges accelerates the availability of low-cost generic products and removes uncertainties associated with litigation. However, active patent challenges require litigation, thereby leading to higher costs.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Sunny Prospects

The Zacks Medical – Generic Drugs industry is a small 16-stock group housed within the broader Zacks Medical sector.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank is the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks. The Zacks Medical – Generic Drugs industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #74, which places it in the top 29% of the 252 Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

Against this backdrop, we will present a few noteworthy stocks. But before that, it’s worth looking at the industry’s stock market performance and current valuation.

Industry Outperforms Sector and S&P 500

The Zacks Medical – Generic Drugs industry has outperformed the broader Zacks Medical sector and the S&P 500 Index in the past year.

The industry has risen 18.9% over this period against the broader sector’s 6.3% fall. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has risen 4.7% in the said time frame.

The Industry’s Current Valuation

Based on forward 12 months price-to-earnings (P/E F12M), which is a commonly used multiple for valuing generic companies, the industry is currently trading at 10.29X compared with the S&P 500’s 19.52X and the Zacks Medical sector’s 22.60X.

Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 13.53X, as low as 7.16X, and at the median of 9.43X.

3 Generic Drug Stocks to Keep an Eye On

Amphastar: The company develops, manufactures, and markets generic and proprietary injectable, inhalation, and intranasal products, as well as an insulin-active pharmaceutical ingredient. The company is focused on expanding its portfolio of generics and biosimilars.

Currently, the company has three generic drugs under review with the FDA. It is also developing three biosimilar and six generic drugs with significant market opportunities. The company is currently focused on the sale of higher-margin products, including new product launches of vasopressin and ganirelix. The company is currently focused on expanding the market share for its glucagon generic products following the discontinuation of branded glucagon products by competitors Lilly and Novo Nordisk.

In June, Amphastar acquired Baqsimi, the first and currently the only nasally administered glucagon for treating severe hypoglycemia in people with diabetes, from Lilly.

The stock has surged 90.5% in the year so far. The consensus estimate for 2023 earnings has increased from $2.56 to $2.69 per share in the past 30 days.

Amphastar carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories: The company enjoys a strong position in the generics market. During the first quarter of fiscal 2024, Dr. Reddy’s witnessed higher North America revenues due to the launch of new products, which partially helped mitigate the impact of pricing erosion. North America sales registered a 79% year-over-year growth and 26% quarter-over-quarter growth. Dr. Reddy’s also launched eight new products in North America during the same quarter. As of Jun 2023-end, cumulatively, 85 generic filings were pending approval from the FDA (82 abbreviated New Drug Applications [ANDAs] and three new drug applications).

The consensus estimate for fiscal 2024 (year ending March 2024) earnings has increased from earnings per share of $3.40 to $3.74 in the past 30 days. The stock has gained 38.7% in the year so far. Dr. Reddy’s has a Zacks Rank #1.

Teva: Teva is the world’s largest generic drug company in total and has new prescriptions. The company is seeing the continued growth of its new branded drug, Austedo’s prescriptions and market share growth for another newer medicine, Ajovy. Generic revenues are improving in Europe and international markets. The company may see better growth in a few years with improving operational efficiencies and significant debt reduction. Teva is currently focused saving costs and improving margins through the optimization of operations for efficiency while also lowering the debt on its balance sheet. During its second-quarter conference call, Teva said it expects a gradual improvement in its gross margin in the second half of the year.

The consensus estimate for 2023 has remained stable at earnings per share of $2.28 in the past 30 days. The stock has declined 5.8% in the year so far. TEVA carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMPH): Free Stock Analysis Report

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (RDY): Free Stock Analysis Report

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA): Free Stock Analysis Report

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