Watson takes big initial chunk of generic Lipitor sales

The numbers are in. The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog is reporting that generic versions of Lipitor from Watson Pharmaceuticals ($WPI) and Ranbaxy Laboratories took roughly 14.6% of prescription volume for atorvastatin-containing drugs during their first few days on the market, a report from JP Morgan states, citing data from IMS Health. And Watson was a big winner, accounting for 97.6% of generic Lipitor sales, according to Globes.

"The data captured only days worth of prescriptions, but analysts are closely watching any piece of new information about generic Lipitor, because the branded version has been the best-selling drug in the world," JPMorgan analyst Chris Schott explained, as quoted by Globes.

Analysts in India said Ranbaxy's roughly 2.5% market share isn't a bad start, especially as Pfizer ($PFE) tries to protect its Lipitor share through such strategies as discounts to consumers and health plans during the first 6 months, The Hindu Business Line notes.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) said its initial revenue from generic Lipitor through its pact with Ranbaxy is negligible, Globes reports. The two companies disclosed the profit sharing plan for generic Lipitor right as the news broke that Ranbaxy had gotten FDA approval for its version. That news prompted analysts to lower their expectations of a Lipitor lift for Ranbaxy earnings. 

- get more from Globes
- check out the WSJ Health Blog piece
- see the Business Line's report