Atorvastatin Calcium (generic Lipitor) is on its way!

Beginning tomorrow, Pfizer’s blockbuster treatment for high cholesterol comes off patent paving the way for less expensive generics.  The generic name for Lipitor is Atorvastatin Calcium and it presents another option for dispensing clinics to better serve their patients.  How big a deal is this?  There are currently 8.7 million Americans taking Lipitor.  Lipitor has been on the market since 1997.  Pfizer sold $10.7 billion of this drug last year.

Wholesale pharmaceutical distributors like Northwind Pharmaceuticals will have Atorvastatin Calcium available beginning Wednesday, November 30.  For the first 180 days, rules limiting generic competition will limit price decreases but significant price decreases should hit after that point.  Drug plans as well as Pfizer are offering incentives to stay with Lipitor or switch but it is difficult to say how long those incentives will be offered.  For physicians offering office medication dispensing, it is interesting to note that the average co-pay for Lipitor is $49 and the average co-pay for generic medications is $10.

As prices come down, Northwind will offer prepackaged versions of Atorvastatin Calcium to make it easier to dispense within clinics.  For more information on the change, check out this article in today’s Wall Street Journal.

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