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Lipitor Goes Generic, As Good as Crestor, But Pfizer Markets to Extend Brand Revenues

December 12, 2011 By: Nadia Category: Cholesterol, HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: USA Today, 11/15/2011

On November 30, 2011, the cholesterol medication Lipitor (atorvastatin) converted to generic status. For the first six months, two companies, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Ranbaxy Laboratories, Ltd., will produce the generic. After May 2012, several generic manufacturers are expected to enter the market.

Pfizer Inc., the maker of Lipitor is marketing hard for people to keep buying its brand-name version for the next 6 months. Pfizer is offering

  • patients a discount card to get Lipitor for $4 a month, and
  • rebates to insurance companies that cover Lipitor for the next 6 months.

This action by Pfizer will result in the costs of Lipitor being below generic prices and Pfizer will get 70% of the proceeds from one of the two versions sold now.

USA Today reported, that large doses of Lipitor and Crestor did about equally well according to a study of 1,385 patients presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando. Crestor, made by AstraZeneca, “will be the last major statin not on patent,” said Cam Patterson, chief of cardiology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study. “The market for Crestor will go close to zero.”

Study findings

At the end of the two-year study,

  • Two-thirds of patients had less plaque in their arteries.
  • Both statins shrunk the size of plaque in the coronary artery by about 1%.
  • Patients on Crestor had a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level of 63 milligrams per deciliter, while those who took Lipitor had a level of 70.
  • Patients on Crestor had a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level of 50 milligrams per deciliter, compared to 49 for those who took Lipitor.

Nehal Mehta, a cardiologist with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, says there’s no way to know if such a small change actually matters, in terms of preventing heart attacks and saving lives. And relatively few patients would even benefit that much. Only about 20% of patients are taking such high doses — 40 milligrams daily of Crestor or 80 milligrams daily of Lipitor, says Mehta, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Such minor differences in cholesterol levels are unlikely to affect heart disease risk, Patterson says. “The bottom line is that there isn’t a difference” between drugs,” he says. “You should make your decision on other factors, like which one is least expensive.”

About Lipitor and Crestor

Cholesterol medications are the leading class of prescription drugs in the USA, with 255 million prescriptions a year. Lipitor — the country’s best-selling drug, with sales of $7.2 billion last year — will be available as a generic Dec. 1, at a fraction of its current cost. Patterson says there will be no reason for insurance plans to pay for Crestor — the eighth-leading drug in the USA, with $3.8 billion in annual sales. In fact, by next month, nearly all statins will be available generically. Generics now account for 78% of all retail prescriptions sold, according to IMS Health.

Think Generics First!

March 10, 2010 By: Tylar Masters Category: Prescription Savings

Generic drugs are a safe and effective alternative for many reasons.

Not only individuals who require inexpensive health care alternatives commonly opt to use generics, but for economic reasons, everyone should think generics first. Generic drugs use the same active ingredients and carry the same side effects as their brand name counterpart. Generics and brand-name drugs are identical in their safety, purpose, effectiveness, and administration method. By identical, it could be defined as the drugs have identical active components or employ a bioequivalent composition of the brand-name equivalent. They are deemed bioequivalent if their pace and accessibility after being given in an identical quantity have like effects. Having parallel effects, both medicine forms have the same effects and amount of effectiveness.

You may ask, if brand name and generic medicines are so similar, why are brand name drugs more inexpensive than generic drugs? The expensive price of branded drugs stem from their research, process, and promotion. Since the brand name drug is recently made, a copyright is provided to grant them sole rights in selling the medicine. When these branded medicines are nearing their patent termination, other manufacturers go to the Food and Drug Administration to permit them to manufacture the generics.

Generic drug manufacturers don’t have a patent, thus the logic for their lesser price. Other generics can have a patent for the composition but not for the active ingredient. Because the generic manufacturers only have to apply and have no initial R&D prices, they can offer the drug at a smaller cost. Economics also have a function in the generic drug’s cheaper value. Since more producers can produce a generic version, there is higher competition in the economy. For one manufacturer to have a lead against the other, they must sell the medicine at a less expensive cost. With more customers, they can opt to have sales at a cheaper value.

Since generic drugs get their smaller prices from economic factors, it’s evident that a medicine’s value does not determine its quality. Some people are under the misconception that generic drugs have a smaller cost because they’re not as effective. Prior to reaching such a conclusion, you need to do research and comprehend the costing process behind it. The Food and Drug Administration makes certain that generic producers adhere to their criteria. These criteria are implemented to branded and generic medicine companies. Anyone with this price misreading should also know that 50 percent of the generics produced are done by branded manufacturers. Don’t be alarmed if the generic version applies a different combination of inactive ingredients. The differences also stem from a copyright issue. US copyright laws require that generics cannot look identical as the brand-name equivalent. Nonetheless, the generic will still use the same active ingredient process and mix to cause identical efficacy and results.

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