Earlier on Wednesday, Pfizer Inc. refrained from commenting on reports and looks forward to commence marketing of an over-the-counter (OTC) version of Lipitor shortly after the original version sees patent expiration in November. The cholesterol fighter, Lipitor, is the world’s largest-selling prescription drug by Pfizer.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the New York-based drug maker expects to receive FDA approval for a Lipitor version that can be distributed in the absence of a doctor’s prescription. Pfizer makes about $11 billion in annual revenues through Lipitor; however, as low-priced generic versions go on sales in some overseas markets, Lipitor sales are experiencing a decline. The top-notch cholesterol fighter loses patent protection on Nov 30, following which generics will hit the market and wipe-out Pfizer’s sales. If the company considers marketing a not-so-expensive OTC version of Lipitor, it could retain most of its revenue.
While a one month supply of Lipitor costs about $150, generics are expected to be as inexpensive as $10 per month in the US.
Pfizer spokesman Ray Kerins said: “We can confirm that we have strategic plans in place for Lipitor’s loss of exclusivity and will comment no further at this time.”
The Wall Street Journal did not cite its sources in the report. It said that Pfizer would face considerable challenge to obtain FDA approval for an OTC version because some of its competitors have been absolutely unsuccessful while trying the same with other statin drugs, a class of Lipitor containing cholesterol drugs.
On Wednesday, Pfizer’s shares jumped 9 cents to close at $18.03. In aftermarket trading, the giant drug maker’s stock dropped by a penny to $18.02.