What Is The Future For Lipitor?

lipitor2Now that cholesterol reducing Lipitor has lost its’ patent, what is in store for the future of this blockbuster cash cow of a drug?  Quite frankly….nothing.  Its’ reign is officially over and its’ owner Pfizer Inc. is quietly giving up on it for good because more generic versions will soon be going on sale.

But, they didn’t give up without a fight!  The world’s biggest drug maker actually conducted an intriguing experiment in brand marketing this year, aggressively pushing the cholesterol-fighting drug Lipitor in the U.S. even after its patent expired on Nov. 30.

Normally, when a drug goes generic, drug companies generally give up on it right away and move on to the next thing that can potentially create major profits for them. But Pfizer didn’t want to do that. Lipitor had brought in so much money, as much as $12.9 billion annually at Lipitor’s peak, the company was hoping that it could find a way that it could continue to be a revenue stream.

So, with a combination of discounts, coupons and payer contracts, the drugmaker aimed to protect market share as long as possible, with their goal of keeping 40% of the market.  And although they were somewhat successful, they kept upwards of 30%, and actually managed to bring in $383 million in domestic sales for the first quarter, making it the company’s third best-selling drug in the U.S. after spending more than $87 million promoting the medicine; nonetheless it is time to throw in the towel.

But, why now?  Simply put, it has now been 180 days.  Brand-name drugs take their biggest hit after 180-day exclusivity expires and increased competition pushes prices downward. And that’s what Lipitor faces as of June 1. So it is no surprise that Pfizer chose to pull back now.

So, was it a successful marketing scheme?  Some think so.  They believe that Pfizer’s approach will probably inspire other companies facing generic rivals to their blockbuster products. “It’s helped them hang on to additional volume compared to other generic erosions,” Ben Weintraub, of Wolters Kluwer’s inThought, told The Wall Street Journal.

Ultimately only time will tell whether or not it was a sucessful scheme, apart from the money that Pfizer ending up making.  As for if it truly inspires others to be creative and attempt something as well, we could soon find out as Sanofi and Bristol-Myers Squibb lose patent protection for their megablockbuster Plavix later this month.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Latest Drug Injury News

Merck’s Falsification of Vaccine Data Exposed

Merk’s dirty little secret has been exposed. A pair of lawsuits, one filed by former employees of Merck and the other by doctors, alleged the company knew its mumps vaccine was less effective than the supposed 95 percent efficiency level. According to court documents the former virologists employed by Merck filed a whistleblower lawsuit four […]

Testosterone Therapy Linked To Heart-Attack, Stroke and Death

Millions of men have turned to testosterone therapy to treat symptoms of aging. However, they may not be aware that they are putting themselves at risk for heart attack or stroke. According to the latest study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers report that within 90 days of taking the hormone the risk of […]

What Is Doribax?

According to the FDA the antibacterial drug Doribax, that has been used to treat patients who develop pneumonia on ventilators, carries an increased risk of death and has a lower clinical cure rate by injection compared a similar drug known as Primaxin. What is Doribax? Doribax is an antibiotic that fights serious infections caused by […]

Is Using Tylenol or Ibuprofen During Pregnancy linked to ADHD?

What is a mother to do if she becomes ill during pregnancy?  The risks of consuming common drugs when pregnant are complex.  Although many doctors assure mothers that taking Tylenol is safe, a recent study by JAMA Pediatrics suggests otherwise.  The study found that mothers who used Tylenol for fever reduction while pregnant reported greater […]

Paxil Linked To Breast Cancer

City of Hope Cancer researchers indicate that a new test called the AroER Tri-Screen, desgined to look for drug side effects that could cause cancer, found a potential link between Paxil and breast cancer.  Paxil is a widely prescribed anti depressant. Research Researchers have found that Paxil has a weak estrogen effect that could increase […]

Latest Medical Device Injury News

Report Raises Concerns Over Heart Defibrillator Leads

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just announced that they received a report that a St. Jude Durata cardiac defibrillator lead conductor became externalized; meaning the wire carrying electricity from the heart defibrillator to the heart was exposed through its insulation, a potentially dangerous and life-threatening defect.

HeartSine Class 1 Defibrillator Recall

HeartSine sent out a letter to customers in September, warning that the defibrillators may intermittently turn on and off, eventually depleting the battery.

FDA Medical Device Approval Based On Little Evidence

More than half of the high-risk cardiovascular devices approved in the past decade had no supporting active control data.

St. Jude Medical Gets FDA Warning

St. Jude Medical Inc. said it received a FDA warning about manufacturing and quality-control problems at its Sylmar, California, plant.

Hospira Still Facing Manufacturing And Regulatory Issues

Hospira has sent out 11 device notifications so far in 2013, including recall and device corrections. The company also said it sent notices to customers about some of its infusion pumps that had to either be recalled, fixed or adjusted.