Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ranbaxy's Lipitor copy goes on sale, but...

Ranbaxy's Lipitor-copy goes on sale 1 Dec 2011, but the impact on consumers is a bit more complicated than one might think.

For example, Watson Pharmaceuticals is selling a Lipitor copy under an agreement made with patentee Pfizer (thus, an authorized generic). And Pfizer has made deals with insurance companies. Bloomberg reports: UnitedHealth Group Inc., the biggest U.S. health insurer by sales, said Nov. 19 it will charge a lower co-pay for Pfizer’s pill than it does for generics for the next six months, taking advantage of a price reduction from the drugmaker. Looking at this a different way, the out-of-pocket expense for generic Lipitor can be different for someone without health insurance (who will likely buy generic) than with certain health insurance (who will keep buying Pfizer-made). Bloomberg also reported: Pfizer has struck deals with companies including Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. and Coventry Health Care Inc. to prevent generic Lipitor from reaching some patients until the end of May 2012. As one can see, the big price break for this statin is 6 months from today.

Ranbaxy is 64 percent-owned by Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ranbaxy's Lipitor-copy will be made in "Princeton," NJ.

See also

What happened to the guy who developed Lipitor?

Yes, Virginia, Ranbaxy Will Sell A Generic Lipitor

Ranbaxy to Share Part of Lipitor Profits With Teva

**UPDATE. Concerning other drugs, doctors frequently express "surprise" that a certain drug is NOT covered by a certain health insurance. From Consumer Reports on how Lipitor is being covered:

For example, Cigna RX1 is reducing its co-pay from $31 in 2011 to $3 in 2012, CVS Caremark Value is going from $42 to $8, and WellCare Classic from $41 to $6. On the other hand, First Health Part D Premier appears to be dropping Lipitor from its formulary entirely.

And Consumer Reports gets into generic substitutes for Lipitor (atorvastatin ), such as lovastatin or simvastatin. But note that the cleverly worded phrasing -- if you need to need to lower your LDL by less than 30 percent -- includes reducing LDL by 0 %.
At least Consumer Reports acknowledges differences among the statins.

[Some insurance companies will assert losartan is a reasonable substitute for Diovan (valsartan), and won't pay for the latter. A study put out by Novartis (the patent holder for Diovan) asserted: The weighted average reduction in mean SBP and DBP for valsartan 160 mg was -15.32 mmHg (95% CI: -17.09, -13.63) and -11.3 mmHg (95% CI: -12.15, -10.52) and for 320 mg was -15.85 mmHg (95% CI: -17.60, -14.12) and -11.97 mmHg (95% CI: -12.81, -11.16); these are statistically significantly greater reductions compared with losartan 100 mg, which was -12.01 mmHg (95% CI: -13.78, -10.25) and -9.37 mmHg (95% CI: -10.18, -8.54) for SBP and DBP respectively. [See Int J Clin Pract. 2009 May;63(5):766-75. ] BUT, there is an interesting difference among the two as to uric acid: serum uric acid levels, which decreased from 6.0 to 5.7 mg/dL in the losartan group and increased from 5.9 to 6.0 mg/dL in the valsartan group (P = 0.001 for between-treatment difference, from Clin Ther. 2001 Aug;23(8):1166-79.]

See also New generic version of Lipitor like an early Christmas present

which includes:

A month’s supply of Lipitor costs about $120. The first shipment of the generic version, atorvastatin, costs about 15 percent less, said Mike Koelzer, owner of Kay Pharmacy at 2178 Plainfield Ave. NE.
But in about six months, the price for generic versions of Lipitor likely will drop to about $10 a month, he said.


Still, Decker said he has been prescribing the other generics to many patients to keep costs down or because the insurance company requires they first try a lower-cost drug.

The article omits the observation that even if one tries the lower cost drug first, and it comes up lacking, the insurance company may not provide any payment for the higher cost drug. One is "allowed" by the insurance company to pay full price for the higher cost drug.


Post a Comment

<< Home