Product hopping is a tactic brand name drug companies use to prevent generic competition by forcing patients to switch to new formulations of a drug, with new patents, often with little or no therapeutic difference.
These newer versions can be protected by new patents that effectively give Big Pharma companies new monopoly leases on old patent lives.
“Competition through state drug substitution laws is the only cost-efficient means of competing available to generic manufacturers.”New York Law Journal
Product hopping has sometimes been found to be anticompetitive. For example, the State of New York successfully challenged the forced switch of patients using the Alzheimer’s drug Namenda, saving patients $7.7 billion over 10 years.