Analysts: Lipitor may live longer than we think

Could it be that Pfizer's Lipitor won't suffer an immediate K.O. punch from generic competition? Rather than the sudden-and-sharp loss of billions in Lipitor revenues, Pfizer might actually see a slow-but-steady erosion, a new analyst report suggests.

As Forbes reports, Sanford C. Bernstein analysts are theorizing that a variety of factors--Ranbaxy Laboratories' manufacturing problems, Pfizer's aggressive fight to delay as many Lipitor generics as possible--could together give Pfizer a softer landing. This theory revolves around the fact that prices for a newly generic drug don't really plummet until several companies are marketing copycats. Patients are more likely to stick with the brand name until that happens.

Pfizer has made a deal with Watson Pharmaceuticals for an authorized generic to debut in November 2011. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is also in the mix, having already launched a version in Canada. Ranbaxy also has the right to launch then, but if it can't get its act together in time, that means one fewer generic rival--and more potential revenue for Pfizer. 

- read the Forbes story