Here is a story on Big Drug companies do for money, focusing on Pfizer.
The patent for the cholesterol drug Lipitor ran out at the end of November 2011.
And the maker of Lipitor, Pfizer had a few tricks to make more money out of it which it would lose as people switched to cheaper generics which would be made after the patent expires. Now other companies would sell Lipitor in the form of atorvastatin, a cheaper generic drugs.
Pfizer didn’t want to see the money go because as the New York Times said over the last decade Pfizer made $106 Billion in sales of Lipitor.
You are probably asking, what did Pfizer do?
Pfizer made a deal with Medco, which is the largest Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) in the world. PBMs help drug companies sell drugs to insurers and employers who sponsor insurance plans. As a result of of this deal between Pfizer and Medco deal, on Dec 1, 2011, which is when drugstores added the generic form of Lipitor to their shelves. People who took Lipitor would not be able to save money and get the generic version if their insurer was Medco.
The rule was so strict that people with Medco they would not be able to get the generic version even if a doctor wrote them a prescription for generic version, Medco would give them Lipitor regular version.
If the deal just lasted to May 2012, when more drug companies would be allowed to make a version of Lipitor, Wall Street drug analyst Dr. Tim Anderson said Pfizer would make $700 million on this deal alone in 2012 as compared to the money not being made if they did not make a deal.
In April 2012, Pfizer sold $268 million worth of Lipitor.
Pfizer recently told “The Wall Street Journal” is “is quietly giving up on its once great cash cow for good because more generic versions will soon be going on sale.. The company is no longer negotiating new contracts to sell Lipitor to health plans, which are signing up to sell generic versions at far lower prices.”