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How Much Money Will Generic Lipitor Save?

January 03, 2012 By: Nadia Category: Cholesterol, HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: Wall Street Journal – Katherine Hobson, 12.12.11

We’ve written about some of the most common consumer questions about the newly launched generic version of Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering Lipitor.

One remaining question is how much money will be saved from the generic iterations of the name-brand blockbuster — the U.S. sales of which were $7.8 billion in the year ended Sept. 30, according to IMS Health.

A group of researchers takes a stab at that issue in a perspective piece published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. Their conclusion: “the overall cost savings from the availability of generic atorvastatin are projected to reach $4.5 billion annually by 2014, equivalent to 23% of total expenditures on statins in that year.” (The aging population could mean another $30 million of cost savings annually by 2014, they note.)

To make their calculations, they looked at what happened after Merck’s Zocor lost patent protection in 2006, and also considered how the aging of the population would drive future demand for statin drugs. They predict that generic atorvastatin will “dominate the statin market as a result of patients’ switching to it from simvastatin [generic Zocor] and from [AstraZeneca’s] Crestor, and it will have an estimated market share of 44% by 3 years after market entry.”

The researchers, from institutions including the Western University of Health Sciences and Yale University, project that the price of generic atorvastatin will be 82% of the pre-generic Lipitor at the time of market entry and 49% of the brand-name after the first six months.

However, these projections come with an asterisk: they “estimate what would happen with the rapid availability and timely uptake of generic atorvastatin.” The researchers say “aggressive business tactics” used by Pfizer to keep people using name-brand Lipitor, including deals with pharmacy-benefit managers and discounts to patients, may prevent switches to the generic.

“In order to capitalize on this opportunity for cost savings from the expiration of Lipitor’s patent, there must be a rapid, concerted effort by many players in the health-care system to facilitate awareness of and access to the generic,” they write.

Discount Cards Offer Little To No Benefit

June 23, 2010 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Search the internet and you will find hundreds of companies offering pharmacy discounts cards. We looked at several and found alarming results.

All of the pharmacy discount cards we investigated boasted agressive pharmacy discounts.  Let’s define “agressive”:

Half of the discount cards offered an average 12% brand drug discount. The other half cost more than the pharmacy’s cash price.

Nearly 90% of the discount cards had a generic drug price that was higher than the pharmacy’s cash price.

The 10% that had value offered pennys in savings at best.

One of the better cards was offered by the National Association of Counties.  The example below highlights the NACO’s discounted price for frequently utilized Simvastatin 40mg (Generic Zocor).

Comparing NACO’s mail order price to the prices found on www.Medtipster.com were amusing for us, but will most likely be upsetting to anyone whom has one of these NACO discount cards.

Bottom-line: Make sure you pay nothing for these cards and perhaps consider even using them at all.

See example below:

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