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New Report Examines Efforts to Reduce the Impact of Generic Competition for Popular Drug Lipitor
Date:6/12/2013

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, AARP's Public Policy Institute released a new Rx Price Watch report examining efforts by Pfizer to reduce the impact of generic competition for the popular anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor. The report breaks down the unusually aggressive strategy reportedly undertaken by Lipitor's manufacturer before and after the drug's patent expired and discusses how the effort could become a model for other brand name drug manufacturers facing generic competition, ultimately increasing costs for consumers and publicly-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

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Pfizer reportedly employed a variety of tactics in an effort to retain Lipitor's revenue and market share, which had already been on the market for 14 years with a patent protected monopoly. These tactics included a "pay-for-delay" agreement, when a brand-name drug manufacturer pays a generic competitor to hold its competing product off the market for a certain period of time. The Federal Trade Commission estimates the increasing number of "pay-for-delay" agreements in recent years costs the American public an estimated $3.5 billion due to delayed price competition from other generic drugs. (These agreements are the focus of a soon-to-be-decided Supreme Court case FTC v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, et al.)

Further, Pfizer reportedly offered rebates to insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). These rebates reduced the cost of Lipitor to less than the cost of the generic version of Lipitor (known as atorvastatin sodium) and in exchange, insurance plans and PBMs rejected atorvastatin claims for six months, effectively preventing pharmacists from dispensing the generic drug. Additionally, patients were offered a generic-level copayment.

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SOURCE AARP
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