PHARMACY

Reports: Pfizer ‘quietly’ giving up on Lipitor marketing

BY Alaric DeArment

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.

 


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Product launches, Cephalon acquisition drive Teva’s Q1 revenues

BY Allison Cerra

JERUSALEM — Net revenues for Teva rose more than 24% for the first quarter ended March 31, thanks to new drug launches and the company’s acquisition of drug maker Cephalon.

First-quarter net revenues totaled $5.1 billion, compared with $4.1 billion in the year-ago period, while net income and earnings per share totaled $1.3 billion and $1.47 diluted earnings per share, an increase of 39% and 41%, respectively, compared with first quarter 2011.

For its generic business, Teva reported net revenues in the first quarter were $2.6 billion (including API net revenues of $199 million), an increase of 12%, compared with $2.3 billion in the first quarter of 2011, thanks to the launch of such products as escitalopram, modafinil, progesterone, irbesartan and irbesartan/HCTZ, quetiapine and olanzapine ODT. Teva also said its U.S. generics business continued to benefit from its agreement with fellow generic drug maker Ranbaxy relating to the launch of generic Lipitor.

Teva also noted an "inventory step-up" due to its acquisition of Cephalon ($56 million). Teva added that it realized an increase in branded products revenues, primarily due to the inclusion of Cephalon sales (i.e., Provigil with $291 million in revenues, Treanda with $148 million and Nuvigil with $84 million).

"2012 is off to a good start for Teva," Teva president and CEO Shlomo Yanai said. "We enjoyed a quarter of strong growth for our branded products, in our U.S. generics business, and in the developing markets Teva operates in. All of these served to offset weaker generics sales in Europe, which resulted primarily from the macroeconomic conditions in that region."

Yanai retired from his post at the company this month, being replaced by former Bristol-Myers Squibb executive Jeremy Levin.

"It has been an immense privilege to lead Teva’s outstanding global team through such an exciting period," Yanai said. "Together we turned Teva into a highly diversified global pharmaceutical company, with an expanded geographical footprint and additional lines of business. Over the last few months I have had the great pleasure of working closely with my successor [Dr. Jeremy Levin] to ensure a smooth transition. I am very confident that Jeremy will lead Teva to even new heights and I wish him every success."


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Ranbaxy reports Q1

BY Allison Cerra

GURGAON, India — First-quarter consolidated sales for generic drug maker Ranbaxy Labs totaled $736 million, the company reported last week.

The company said the quarter’s sales marked a 55% increase over the year-ago period, when sales totaled $474 million. U.S. sales for the company totaled $416 million, up from $170 million in first quarter 2011. Ranbaxy attributed its sales boost to the launch of generic Lipitor (atorvastatin), as well as sales of generic Caduet (amlodipine and atorvastatin).

"The focus on key products and markets, while maintaining emphasis on further strengthening quality and compliance standards has had a positive impact on the performance of Ranbaxy during the quarter," Ranbaxy managing director and CEO Arun Sawhney said. "The company is working towards creating a sustainable, profitable, growing business in the long run with differentiated, branded generics business at its base."


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