Pfizer switch of Lipitor under consideration
NEW YORK — It’s official. Pfizer will be exploring a potential switch of its blockbuster lipid-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium).
"There is an intent at some point to try and have an OTC version of Lipitor on the marketplace," Ian Read, Pfizer CEO, president, director and chairman, told analysts on Tuesday. However, for the time being, Pfizer is focused on buttressing Lipitor sales after patent expiry at the end of November through promotion. "Most of the focus is on ensuring the brand has a robust performance in the rest of 2011 and the first 180 days of its loss of exclusivity," Read said. "The brand Lipitor is strong. And these actions we’re taking, they are not specifically directed toward strengthening any potential OTC brand in the future."
Pfizer is assuming both Watson and Ranbaxy will be entering the market with generic versions of Lipitor on the official loss-of-exclusivity date of Nov. 30. And 180 days following Ranbaxy’s entry, Pfizer is preparing for multiple generic pharmaceutical companies to launch a Lipitor equivalent.
"We are continuing to promote Lipitor in order to maximize the vital opportunities, as Ian said, on both pre- and post-LOE," said Olivier Brandicourt, president and general manager of Pfizer Worldwide Primary Care Business. Pfizer launched a $4 co-pay card in December last year, and a new program launched in September — the Lipitor For You program — includes an assisted co-pay for a targeted group of patients. "So we also have partnered to your point, with some customers, so their patients can remain or even begin taking branded Lipitor," he said. "And we are continuing to explore opportunities to partner with the others. So we are definitely supporting the brand again and maximizing the brand pre- and post-LOE."
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Bebida Beverage introduces relaxation shots into Nebraska c-stores
STATESVILLE, N.C. — Bebida Beverage on Wednesday announced that its 2-oz. Koma Unwind shots will now be carried at all Pump n Pantry locations in Nebraska.
"The distribution contracts and the partnerships continue to add up every week," stated Bebida CEO Brian Weber. "Our goal is to put our products in stores all over the world, and we are on our way," he said. "Our online marketing plan is now going to ramp up even more now that we have replaced the technology that drives our website. We are expecting bigger things as we go into the fall and winter, which is exactly the time of year that stores and distributors make their decisions about what products to carry for the next season."
"Since 2009, when we first produced the first Koma Unwind drinks, we have been steadily gaining traction along with the category itself," added Bebida COO Daisy Ramirez. "But this year, with the addition of the Jennifer Lopez music video partnership and the NASCAR sponsorships, it has really kicked into high gear."
Report: Meth cooks credited with 80% increase in PSE sales
ST. LOUIS — There has been a sharp increase in sales of pseudoephedrine products just outside St. Charles County, Mo., which implemented a prescription requirement on the sale of PSE beginning Aug. 30, according to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published Monday that cited data from Det. Sgt. Jason Grellner, past president of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.
According to that data, sales of PSE products were up 81% in September versus August in Bridgeton, Mo., and increases in Maryland Heights and Chesterfield were 59% and 51%, respectively.
During the same period, the Post-Dispatch reported, sales of PSE products in all of St. Louis County increased by about 25% and across Missouri by about 7%.
Nationwide, sales of all cough-cold and allergy products were up 1.9% for the 13 weeks ended Sept. 3, according to Nielsen data tabulated across food, drug and mass (including Walmart) stores.
In the report, Grellner suggested meth labs were the most likely driver behind those significant sales increases, despite the fact that St. Louis County residents were saddled with having to make doctors appointments in order to get their decongestant relief just as fall allergies and the 2011-2012 cough-cold season started kicking in.
Grellner charged that only 10% of PSE purchases are for legitimate use. However, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association maintains that assertions about a high rate of diversion are anecdotal. "Over 989,000 boxes of PSE products were sold in Missouri in 2008, equaling over $9.5 million in sales — not including Wal-Mart, which does not release sales data," according to the CHPA. "This is 1.8% of the U.S. PSE market, and Missouri’s population is 1.9% of the U.S. population."
Shortly after the St. Charles County PSE ordinance went into effect Aug. 30, the Southeast Missourian published a story on consumer dissatisfaction with the new prescription requirement, including one consumer who pledged to drive outside the county rather than be inconvenienced by a doctor’s appointment.
To read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article in its entirety, click here.
To read the Southeast Missourian article, click here.