Digital News Report – Pfizer Inc., the maker of the brand name Lipitor cholesterol lowering medication, will no longer be the only company manufacturing the drug atorvastatin, because it is now allowed to be sold as a generic drug as of November 30, 2011.
Generic versions of the same drug are just as effective as the name brand prescriptions. However, the generic versions often cost considerably less than the brand name versions. Some health insurance companies require the prescription to be filled as a generic if available. This may mean that some individuals may be switched over to the generic prescription drug.
Two generic drug makers, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals and Watson Pharmaceuticals, will start selling the atorvastatin in the United States as soon as today. However, some other generic drug manufacturers will be following 180 days later because of laws that prevent the same distribution date. This delay will add more generic versions of atorvastatin in May 2012. As more generic atorvastatin becomes available, the pricing should become more competitive.
Watson Pharmaceuticals generic has an exclusive supply and distribution agreement with Pfizer. Watson will market and distribute the product in the US, but Pfizer will still be the manufacturer and supplier to Watson. This five-year agreement expires November 30, 2016.
According to the IMS Health data, Pfizer’s Lipitor prescriptions generated $7.8 billion in sales over twelve months prior to the end of September 2011.
By: Jason Chang