Lipitor, Pfizer’s (NYSE: PFE) best-selling drug, could be the first of the statins brought to the over-the-counter market when the company’s patent on it ends Nov. 30, according to Business Week.
The news magazine cited comments made by Pfizer’s CEO Ian Read in a conference call discussing the pharmaceutical company’s third-quarter earnings.
Pfizer CEO Ian Read: On the Lipitor, most of the focus is on ensuring the brand has a robust performance in the rest of ’11 and the first 180 days of its loss of exclusivity. Clearly, there is an intent at some point to try and have an OTC version of Lipitor on the marketplace. I think the brand Lipitor is strong. And these actions we’re taking, they are not specifically directed towards strengthening any potential OTC brand in the future.
The cholesterol drug had more than $10.7 billion in sales last year, a pretty big chunk of the drug company’s $67.8 billion sales, according to The New York Times blog, Prescriptions. Sales for the drug rose 15 percent in the third quarter.
The loss of the Lipitor patent along with dementia drug Aricept could push revenue down in its prima-rycare division 7 percent over the previous year, according to Barrons.
Still, the company did not get to be the largest pharmaceutical company in the U.S. with one blockbuster drug. As Forbes reported, Prevnar, a pneumonia vaccine, was the company’s second best-selling product this quarter with just over $1 billion in sales for the quarter, a 37 percent increase over the previous year. Following Prevnar were arthritis medication Embrel with $957 million for the quarter, a 20 percent rise, and pain-management drug Lycria with $961 million in sales for the quarter.
On the other hand, Financial Times‘ Lex column says the company’s move to cut back on research and development costs mean it is spending less on R&D as a proportion of sales than its rivals.