On Lipitor D-Day, a flurry of analyses, opinions, and laments

In case you've been wandering the wilderness for the last 6 months, we'll tell you: Lipitor goes off patent today. It could be like any other blockbuster drug losing exclusivity, only much bigger. But it's not. Pfizer ($PFE) isn't backing down, for one thing. It's making some unprecedented moves to keep patients on Lipitor. For another, the generics maker with first rights to the market--India's Ranbaxy Laboratories--isn't shipping, despite the promise of billions in potential sales.

Oh, the drama--and the multiple interpretations of it. For your reading pleasure, we've rounded up some of our favorite pieces about Lipitor's watershed moment.

  • Big Pharma might pour hundreds of billions more into R&D and never come up with another mega-selling, mass-market drug like Lipitor, Forbes reports. There's too much competition from generics. Expectations for new drugs are higher now. The idea of one-size-fits-all pills is giving way to slice-and-dice development of targeted drugs for smaller patient populations. Article

  • Lipitor's patent loss is no doubt the biggest, revenue-wise, but its just one of many. Nature looks at which companies will suffer the most from the 2010-2013 patent cliff--after Pfizer, Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) stand to lose the most sales to generic competition--and wonders how drugmakers will manage to recover, given lamentable R&D productivity. Report

  • Pfizer's aggressive discounts and deal-making to protect its Lipitor sales get a close look from The New York Times. If the company's efforts pay off--and analysts do think Pfizer could hang onto as much as 40% of its Lipitor sales--then they might become a model for other drugmakers facing big generic competition. More

  • What's Ranbaxy to do if its Lipitor copy can't get to market? Bloomberg looks at some alternatives for the Indian drugmaker, namely relying more heavily on domestic sales. But that could take some time, because Ranbaxy has been so focused on its U.S. business, analysts say. Meanwhile, company officials say they're still preparing for a U.S. launch of atorvastatin. Story

  • Indian newspapers are wringing their hands over Ranbaxy's apparent failure to get its Lipitor copy to market on time, despite all of the company's promises to the contrary. Maybe that's because analysts are tearing out their hair. "There is nothing left for Ranbaxy with regards to Lipitor now," one told The Economic Times. News | More

  • What's up for post-Lipitor Pfizer? Leaner operations, with fewer employees, fewer divisions and a smaller R&D budget--and, with any luck, big sales from four promising new products, including the vaccine Prevnar and the clot-fighter Eliquis, Bloomberg reports. Biologics, specialty drugs, emerging markets sales? Yes. Primary care? Not so much. Item