Pfizer's Lipitor share slips, casting doubt on power of a loyalty program to save the brand

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Study anticipates higher statin use
Study anticipates higher statin use
Seven weeks after Pfizer's main Lipitor patent expired in the US, the drug is down to 32% market share and at least one name-brand analyst is casting doubt on the brand's survival strategy.

“While this is not the first time that pharma companies have tried (unsuccessfully) to strike post-generic deals with payors, Pfizer's attempts appear to be more aggressive and could set forth a new precedent if successful,” wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin in a Monday analyst note. “However, according to IMS data, Pfizer's share may be starting to slip.”

“Recall,” she added, “that Watson's guidance assumes Pfizer's strategy allows it to retain a 40% market share, and WPI and RBXY split the generic market.”

In fact, Pfizer's share of the market dipped below 40% two weeks after exclusivity loss, languishing at 37% for several weeks before dropping further in recent days.

Pfizer awarded Watson Pharmaceuticals rights on an authorized generic, and that company's CEO, Paul Bisaro, said Pfizer's Lipitor endgame isn't working.

“They're starting to lose market share,” said Bisaro in an analyst meeting, according to Bloomberg. “It appeared they were trying to protect revenue and not profit.”

Watson boasts 27% of the atorvastatin market, according to the IMS numbers, though Bisaro has suggested that IMS undercounts its sales of the drug through Walmart. An unauthorized rival generic by Ranbaxy was in the lead, with 41% share.

Asked about Bisaro's comments, a Pfizer spokesperson said the company's Lipitor For You loyalty program would differentiate the Pfizer product by “increasing patient choice and improving patient adherence by offering Lipitor patients more support than they would receive from a company selling generic atorvastatin,” including a $4 co-pay card, designed to lower patients' out of pocket costs to equal with or lower than the cost of a generic, as well as “counseling, education and adherence tools through expanded partnerships with participating pharmacies.”
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