Cholesterol-lowering medications are a huge pharmaceutical market, dominated by statins. Several statins are now available in generic form, but there remain three big nongeneric players–Lipitor, Crestor and Vytorin. (Vytorin is a combination product, but does include a statin.)
Of course, each pharmaceutical company touts reasons why their drug should be chosen, and health care providers commonly recommend one of these three when cholesterol goals cannot be reached with a generic.
We can soon expect insurers to prefer Lipitor through co-pay tiering, as its patent is set to expire first. Until that time, each company is promoting appeal for their product by way of cost.
- All three companies offer a 30-day free trial and provide free samples profusely to physicians.
- Crestor and Lipitor also offer savings cards. Currently, Crestor’s program drops monthly out-of-pocket expense to $25, and Lipitor’s provides a co-pay discount of up to $15 per month. (As with all pharmaceutical savings promotions, there are limitations on who can use them.)
Don’t be surprised if the discounts improve further.
Expect to soon see even greater efforts from Pfizer to squeeze everything they can out of Lipitor sales before it goes off patent. Its two competitors are certainly also planning on incentives to counter insurers’ inevitable push toward the looming Lipitor generic.
The good news for consumers is that costs for these products should soon drop significantly.
Stand back and watch the fight.
Stephen Meyers, MD
Vytorin, Crestor and Lipitor are registered trademarks, respectively, of MSP Singapore Company, LLC., the AstraZeneca group of companies and Pfizer, Inc.