More on Lipitor, Jarvik, and battling generics

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Blogger Jay Parkinson gets hot about Pfizer's attempt to stave off generic competition for Lipitor. Excerpt:

"Many of you may have heard the ads recently playing all over the airwaves about the benefits of Lipitor, the best-selling drug in America. Here’s a little history behind these ads. Pfizer developed Lipitor years ago and aggressively marketed it touting it’s safety and effectiveness. It rose to the top and brings in over $12 billion dollars in annual sales. It’s had some competitors (such as Merck’s Zocor) but with all of the marketing to doctors and consumers, Lipitor secured over 40% of the market for cholesterol-lowering drugs. About 18 months ago, Merck lost Zocor’s patent and Zocor became available as generic simvastatin. Doctors have been switching their patients to simvastatin in droves. Some health insurance companies are even paying their doctors $100 for each switched patient! Not surprising. It’s very cost effective to switch patients because simvastatin can be had for about 10 cents a day, whereas Lipitor can be about $4 a day. Based on this cost difference, there are maybe 50 patients throughout the entire country who should still be on Lipitor…and that’s a big maybe.

In the past 18 months, Lipitor’s share of the market has decreased ten percent but currently still retains 30% of the market. Ten percent of $22 billion dollars is not pocket change. Pfizer’s not going down without a fight even when the patent on Lipitor will expire in March 2010. They’ve doubled their advertising for Lipitor (which was previously $140 million dollars in 2006) and gotten some jackasses like Dr. Robert Jarvik on board to sell their souls for Money…or…umm…Science. He invented the artificial heart. He is citing a joke of a study based on Science (or rather Money) and completely funded by Pfizer that says Lipitor decreases risk of heart attacks when compared to patients on Simvastatin. They also have Dr. Louis W. Sullivan (another jackass) on board with a sponsored propaganda tour of the United States promoting the benefits of Lipitor (well, not officially, the actual argument in this speaking tour is against insurers and their influence on medical decisions). I hope that fool’s propaganda tour rolls through NYC. I’d love to ask him one question:

“If Lipitor costs 400% percent more than generic simvastatin, shouldn’t there be a 400% added benefit to keeping patients on Lipitor??

1 Comment

You've posed an excellent question. Also because there are jackasses out there like Jarvik and Sullivan, how can I trust my doctor to tell me which drug to take based on medical advice alone?

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on November 8, 2007 6:36 AM.

Kickbacks to orthopedic surgeons was the previous entry in this blog.

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