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NEW YORK — Pfizer apparently is relenting on its attempt to drive sales of its top cholesterol drug as several new generic versions look set to enter the market, according to published reports.
The Associated Press reported that Pfizer was "quietly" giving up on the drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) after an $87 million campaign to continue marketing the drug despite generic competition.
Lipitor lost its patent protection on Nov. 30, 2011, facing competition from a generic version made by India-based Ranbaxy Labs. Ranbaxy, as the first company to win approval for a cheaper, generic version of the drug, was entitled to 180 days in which to compete exclusively with the branded version, but that exclusivity period is expiring. This will allow other generic drug makers to enter the market with their own versions, which will depress the price of the drug even further.
Lipitor had sales of $8.2 billion in 2011, according to IMS Health.