Deal Delays Generic Lipitor Until 2011

Pact with Indian drug maker stands to net billions for Pfizer
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2008 5:11 PM CDT
Forty-milligram tablets of the drug Lipitor are photographed in Glen Rock, N.J., in a file photo from Nov. 15, 2005.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
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(Newser) – Pfizer has struck a deal with an Indian generic drug maker to delay a cheaper version of Lipitor in the US until November 2011. The agreement limiting generic versions of the cholesterol-lowering drug will translate into billions more in profits for Pfizer, the New York Times reports. Lipitor, the world's best-selling medicine, costs about $3 a day; a generic version will likely be less than $1.

Pfizer's counsel calls the agreement “pro-patient, pro-competition, and pro-intellectual property.” But not everyone agrees. “This is clearly a miscarriage of the law,” says one analyst. Pfizer will not pay Ranbaxy—the Indian drug maker—but will allow it to sell generic Lipitor in a number of countries outside the US. The Federal Trade Commission is not expected to challenge the agreement.