Pfizer is trying to stave off its own heart attack now that its flagship cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor faces stiff competition from a cheaper generic. Lipitor is still patent-protected, but a very similar drug called Zocor isn't, and since a generic version called simvastatin hit the market, many doctors and insurers are steering patients away from Lipitor to the cheaper alternative, the New York Times says.
Pfizer isn’t taking it quietly. The company, whose stock price has tumbled to record lows, launched an advertising and lobbying campaign and has been touting a controversial British study that found a 30% increase in cardiac risks for patients who switched from Lipitor to the generic drug. Still, analysts are skeptical that Pfizer will be able to snuff out simvastatin, which costs $2/day less than Lipitor.