When Pfizer launched its new cholesterol medicine, Liptor, in 1997, they knew the patent would someday expire. What they didn't know was that it would become the top-selling branded pharmaceutical in the world. On Dec. 1, Pfizer lost its patent on the drug, and they're doing whatever they can to keep up with the competition and hold onto Lipitor's market share.
Although U.S. drug patent laws limit the number of generic competitors for the first six months, Pfizer is maximizing its strategy. The company's competitors are Ranbaxy Laboratories in India and Watson Pharmaceuticals--a New Jersey-based company who consented to a profit-sharing agreement with the drug manufacturer. Pfizer authorized and is manufacturing generic Lipitor for Watson Pharmaceuticals, and the competitor agreed to pay Pfizer more than 50 percent of the pills' proceeds.
According to a NY Times article by Duff Wilson, Pfizer has even gone so far as to asking drugstores to block prescriptions for generic Lipitor. They're also offering pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) large discounts on the drug as long as their pharmacists refrain from selling generic Lipitor until the six-month grace period ends. It remains uncertain whether consumers will receive new, discounted co-pays or will continue paying full-price.
|Full-Price Lipitor||$25 or more|
Will Viagra Share A Similar Fate?
The website for the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows that Pfizer's patent on Viagra will expire on March 27, 2012. However, will Pfizer use the same aggressive methods to keep up with the competition? According to an article by Jim Edwards on AccessRx.com, the drug manufacturers are not divulging their plans for when Viagra goes generic--and it's probably for the best.
While Pfizer isn't saying much, we can expect an increase in demands for a generic version of Viagra. Generic drugs typically cost 80 percent less than the original, and health insurance plans cover generic prescriptions. Edwards' article also discusses alternative routes Pfizer may take: licensing the original Viagra recipe to generic drug makers, topical ointments, or even a new version of Viagra with an extended release formula.
Online Pharmacy Merchants: Start Preparing Now
There are only three months to go until Viagra's patent expires, and there's sure to be a boom in sales when it does. Be the first in line for an Instabill pharmacy merchant account so you can accept credit card payments from your website. From filling out your application to choosing the right shopping cart, the Instabill team is here to help you every step of the way. For more information, call us at 1-800-318-2713 or contact one of our expert merchant account managers online today.