AZ launches Crestor co-pay card to battle Lipitor copies

Joining the growing number of drugmakers using discount cards and coupons to retain patients, AstraZeneca ($AZN) has launched a co-pay help card for its statin drug Crestor. The cholesterol remedy isn't on the verge of going off patent, as some other meds with co-pay cards are, but Lipitor, one of its biggest rivals, is.

The new card gives insured patients an $18 co-pay for Crestor, up to $50 off their current co-pays. A patient with a $75 co-pay would pay $25 with the card, for instance, while a patient with a $60 co-pay would pay $18. Uninsured patients get a $50 discount on each monthly supply for 12 months.

The Crestor discount isn't as big as Pfizer's ($PFE) new discounts on Lipitor, which give insured patients a $4 co-pay, but Crestor isn't battling directly against pharmacies touting co-pays of $4 for patients who switch to generic copies. On the other hand, Crestor may be viewed as a statin for harder-to-treat patients, but recent study data didn't show a statistically significant superiority to Lipitor as AstraZeneca had hoped. You can be sure that analysts will be keeping a close eye on prescription numbers as soon as Lipitor loses exclusivity Nov. 30.

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