Efforts to Protect Lipitor from Generic Competition: Cause for Concern?

A new Rx Price Watch report examines the strategies reportedly used by Pfizer to try to maintain revenue and market share for its popular anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor as its patent expired. Pfizer’s tactics raise important concerns for consumers and publicly funded programs like Medicare. The patent for Lipitor was originally expected to expire no later than June 2011 after 14 years on the market. In response, Pfizer reportedly developed an unprecedented strategy to protect and extend Lipitor sales, which included: …

Supreme Court: Drugmakers’ Pay-for-Delay Deals Can Be Illegal

Deals between brand-name drugmakers and their generic drug competitors that keep cheaper products off the market might illegally prevent competition, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 17. In so-called pay-for-delay deals or reverse settlements, a patent holder pays a would-be competitor not to sell a generic version of a drug for a specified period of time. The brand-name manufacturer can continue to charge monopoly prices, and the generic company is compensated for inaction. In Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, the …

Does a Top Drugmaker’s Playbook Stifle Competition?

If you owned the bestselling prescription drug of all time and its patent was about to expire, how would you prepare for competition from generic drugs? You might look at what Pfizer did when time was running out on its patent for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, which by 2011 had become the all-time bestselling prescription drug of any kind. And you could save yourself some time by reviewing a new AARP Public Policy Institute case study of Pfizer’s approach. The …

Pay-for-Delay Agreements and Prescription Drug Costs

  Brand-name pharmaceutical companies can delay generic competition by paying a generic competitor to hold its competing product off the market for a certain period of time. These “pay-for-delay” agreements benefit both parties: the brand-name manufacturer can continue to charge monopoly prices, and the generic company is compensated for its inaction. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that pay-for-delay agreements cost American consumers $3.5 billion per year. The Justice Department has challenged these agreements as anti-competitive and the Supreme Court …