No question, statins are the big gorilla of the cholesterol-fighting drug market. And as Forbes reports today, that drug class is marking out an even bigger territory as time goes by. Over the past 5 years, statin prescriptions have grown by 17% to 214 million a year, while other cholesterol remedies lost 28% of their scripts. Now, those other drugs only account for 50 million prescriptions a year.
The recent layoffs of hundreds of drug sales reps mean there are fewer people in the field calling on doctors to see what they are prescribing. But they don't have to--drugmakers have found new tools that actually can tell them more about doctors' prescribing patterns than the physicians even know themselves.
How much is a generic drug worth to a payer? More than £350 million, for the U.K.'s National Health Service anyway. That's how much it saved during the first 12 months after Pfizer's Lipitor went off patent, the generic industry's trade association says.
India's largest generic drugmaker blamed a 90% drop in first-quarter profit on the fact it just couldn't match the same period last year when it launched its exclusive generic version of Lipitor, the world's best-selling drug.
Merck will soon launch a new cholesterol combo that melds its Zetia drug with generic Lipitor. The Zetia-plus-statin approach isn't new, of course; Merck already sells Vytorin, a combination of Zetia and its own off-patent statin Zocor, known generically as Simvastatin.
Pfizer has big expectations for its oral rheumatoid arthritis treatment Xeljanz--about $3 billion worth. But those expectations were struck a serious blow when European Medicines Agency regulators Thursday turned it down for approval.
Last year was a tough one for Pfizer ($PFE), having to shoulder a full 12 months without the riches of Lipitor to rely on. Still, CEO Ian Read did the best he could with what he had to work with. And for that, he got a small raise, although nothing like the 44% upgrade he received a year ago.
Lipitor as a loss leader? That's the approach Wegmans' pharmacies are taking. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the grocery store chain offers generic versions of Lipitor for free, as a way to bring in new pharmacy customers. And the promotion must be successful--Wegmans just extended it through the end of this year.
Ranbaxy Laboratories is overcoming hurdles as it tries to regain its vaporized market share for generic Lipitor. It got past a recall, figured out how glass particles got into its API and is again manufacturing the drug for the U.S. market. Now it has also squashed an effort to force a national recall of its past production of the drug.
Ranbaxy Laboratories surprised investors with a quarterly loss of 4.92 billion rupees ($90.95 million), thanks to the cost of recalling its generic version of Lipitor.