Popular Cholesterol-reducing Drug Loses Patent
Orange County – Lipitor’s patent expires this month. This may come as good news to Baby Boomers. Watson Pharmaceuticals and Ranbaxy Laboratories both announced plans to distribute a generic version of atorvastatin containing the same active ingredients under its own brand. While the long-term price of a generic version of the drug has yet to be revealed, customers hoping to save big can reap benefits in the short-term by buying the brand name at a discount.
Pfizer, the company that produces and sells Lipitor, plans to prevent generic brands from taking over its market share. First, it plans to lower its average $25 brand name co-payments to retain its customer base. Insured patients can purchase a discount card allowing them to buy the drug for a reduced monthly co-pay. For six months starting on November 30, UnitedHealth Group Incl., the nation’s largest health insurer by sales, has agreed to charge a lower co-pay for Lipitor than for generic copies.
Pfizer has invested significantly in marketing and hopes to partner with insurance companies to prevent pharmacies from dispensing a generic Lipitor product. Additionally, it will offer incentives and discounts for insurers, patients, and the companies that process prescriptions to retain a reduced price for the next few months. Already, some patients have saved up to 80% on Lipitor’s shelf price.
Doctors prescribe Lipitor to treat high cholesterol. Lipitor can lower the risk for heart attack. When used with a low-fat diet, it can lower triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol) while raising HDL (good cholesterol).
Lipitor is currently the nation’s best-selling drug. According to Pfizer, over 17 million patients take Lipitor. It generated $10.7 billion for the company in 2010, and has resulted in sales of up to $13 billion per year.
Posted in: Patent Registration