The marketing authorisation of the first generic product version is an important moment in a drug product lifecycle. The subsequently changed intellectual property protection prospects could affect the incentives for further drug development. We assessed the quantity and nature of extensions of indication of small molecule medicinal products authorised through the European Medicines Agency throughout the drug product lifecycle with special attention for the impact of the introduction of a first generic competitor. The majority (92.5%) of the extensions of indication was approved during the exclusivity period of the innovator product. Regulatory rethinking might be needed for a sustainable stimulation of extensions of indications in the post-generic period of a drug product lifecycle.
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