Pfizer's Lipitor Patent Expires

Submitted by patentadmin on Thu, 12/01/2011 - 16:57

December 1, 2011 - For years, Pfizer Inc. has depended on the cholesterol drug Lipitor to produce almost one-fifth of its income. But the patent for Lipitor expired in late November, and as the world's best-selling prescription drug goes generic, Pfizer is looking for ways to retain at least some of their market share.

Though the patent protection is gone, the trademark for Lipitor is still around - so one way Pfizer is looking to continue monetizing the statin drug is through an arrangement with a company called Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. to sell an "authorized generic" version of Lipitor for which Pfizer receives a share of the profits.

But the profitability of that arrangement is likely to be short-lived. Watson has "first-to-file" status from the FDA for selling its generic Lipitor, which means it can sell it for six months before other companies can sell their own generic versions of the drug.

It is predicted that the wholesale cost of generic Lipitor will initially decrease by about 10-15 percent, bringing the price of a month's supply down to about $150. Later next year, however, the price is expected to drop drastically - to less than $10.