Pfizer armed and ready for Lipitor fight

Pfizer isn't letting Lipitor go gently into the good night of off-patent drugs. It's fighting to keep the cholesterol remedy's sales up until the bitter end. That's a tough assignment, given that insurers and governments are steering patients off Lipitor and onto simvastatin, the generic form of Merck's Zocor, which went off patent last year. Thousands of patients have switched.

Pfizer has sent a former HHS secretary on a speaking tour in support of Lipitor. It's also flogging a company-funded study that concluded switching to simvistatin from Lipitor led to increased risk of heart attack and death. Independent researchers are questioning the study, though; other trials have shown simvistatin to be effective at cholesterol reduction.

- read more about Pfizer's pro-Lipitor strategy in The New York Times