Lyrica looking grim: Pfizer blockbuster's market share crumbles under generic attack

Lyrica
Pfizer's Lyrica is down to just 43% market share after a wave of generics launched in July. (Pfizer)

Pfizer knew things would take a turn for the worse after generics for its blockbuster Lyrica launched stateside three short weeks ago. But did it know it would be this bad?

The drug’s share of U.S prescriptions crumbled to just 43% in the week ending Aug. 9 after a wave of generics hit Pfizer broadside in mid-July. According to IQVIA figures quoted by SVB Leerink, Lyrica lost a precipitous 35% share of the market to 16 competitors in the last week of July alone.

Among the current challengers to the Lyrica brand, Novartis’ Sandoz unit led the pack with 9.7% of the market. Cipla finished second with 8.1% share, and Amneal and Teva rounded out the top of the pack with 6.9% and 6.8% share, respectively.

Survey

Veeva 2020 Unified Clinical Operations Survey

We believe you have the knowledge and expertise to make this year's Veeva 2020 Clinical Operations Report even more robust and insightful than the last. Please take a moment to share your opinion in this 10-minute survey. All qualified respondents will be entered to win a $500 Amazon gift card.

It’s a remarkable fall from grace for Pfizer’s blockbuster, which raked in $3.6 billion in U.S. sales in 2018. Fortunately for Pfizer, the aging sales driver might not be its problem for long as the drugmaker accelerates toward the spinoff of its established products unit Upjohn.

RELATED: Lyrica generics roll: Pfizer blockbuster finally hits patent cliff

In July, Pfizer announced the planned merger of Upjohn and Mylan, a move intended to pare down the pharma giant's sprawling business and offload its flagging off-patent meds. Pfizer said the transaction could net $12 billion that it would use to pay off debt and return shareholder dividends, but the cash could also cover “bolt-on” buys to augment the business that’s left behind.  

The Upjohn spinoff would offload both Lyrica and Lipitor—another best-seller that took a long fall after its U.S. patent loss—onto Mylan. Perhaps more promising, Pfizer said it doesn’t face another loss of exclusivity until 2026.

RELATED: Will Upjohn's $12B cash—and tighter focus—send Pfizer back to the buying board?

In the meantime, though, Pfizer's Lyrica sales should continue to dwindle. But where’s the bottom? Other Pfizer patent losses could offer a clue.

In 2011, longtime blockbuster Lipitor lost its patent protection and 90% of the U.S. blood pressure market in a single year. The brand still brought in a blockbuster-worthy $407 million in the second quarter in a testament to its behemoth market.

Pfizer’s other off-patent blockbuster, the erectile dysfunction med Viagra, is still hanging in, at least percentage-wise, since losing its patent in late 2017. The drug's U.S. sales fell to $114 million in the second quarter of this year from $300 million in the same period of 2016.

Suggested Articles

Only months after a game-changing new approval for Vascepa, Amarin has lost a key fight over its patents—and now it's scrambling to respond.

Move over, Roche. There’s a new small cell lung cancer therapy on the scene, and it belongs to AstraZeneca.

Fujifilm says it is prepared to ramp up production of Avigan for any country that wants to try it as a potential treatment for COVID-19.