Pfizer pressuring pharmacists to continue selling Lipitor after patent expires
Global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. is pressuring pharmacists to continue selling cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor instead of switching to generic alternatives after Lipitor's patent expires Dec. 1, according to a report by the New York Times.
Lipitor, the best selling drug in the world, was invented by Ann Arbor scientists in the 1980s.
Now, Pfizer is urging pharmacists to "block prescriptions for a generic version of Pfizer’s Lipitor" in exchange for discounts on the name-brand drug, the Times reported.
"A pharmacy group and an independent expert say the tactic will benefit Pfizer and benefit managers at the expense of employers and taxpayers, who may end up paying more than they should for the drug," according to the Times.
The expiration of Lipitor's patent — a moment that's been anticipated for years — is blamed for many of the job cuts and restructuring Pfizer has pursued over the last couple years.
The company even cut loose Lipitor co-discoverer and Ann Arbor entrepreneur Roger Newton when it shut down its 174-acre Ann Arbor research campus in 2008. Newton later licensed intellectual property from Pfizer and restarted Esperion Therapeutics, which Pfizer had shut down after paying $1.3 billion to acquire it in 2004.