Another Reason Health Costs Are So High

August 5, 2011
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Pfizer Inc. wants to introduce a version of its popular cholesterol pill Lipitor that consumers could buy without a doctor’s prescription, according to people familiar with the matter. The effort, if successful, could help Pfizer squeeze new sales life out of the world’s best-selling drug in the years after Lipitor loses U.S. patent protection in November, which will trigger sales-eroding generic competition that will eat into Lipitor’s current yearly haul of nearly $11 billion. But Pfizer likely faces an uphill battle because the U.S.

Pfizer Inc. wants to introduce a version of its popular cholesterol pill Lipitor that consumers could buy without a doctor’s prescription, according to people familiar with the matter. The effort, if successful, could help Pfizer squeeze new sales life out of the world’s best-selling drug in the years after Lipitor loses U.S. patent protection in November, which will trigger sales-eroding generic competition that will eat into Lipitor’s current yearly haul of nearly $11 billion. But Pfizer likely faces an uphill battle because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has previously rejected the idea of allowing over-the-counter versions of cholesterol drugs in the same class as Lipitor — known as statins — because of concerns that consumers aren’t able to properly use the drugs without a doctor’s guidance.

Full Wall Street Journal article here.