Generic Lipitor and Caduet under your 2011 Christmas tree

What this means is that by Christmas of 2011 (if I live long enough) I could replace drugs which now cost $60/month in co-pays with a single generic pill costing as little as $10/month.

LipitorAffordable versions of both Lipitor and Caduet could be under your 2011 Christmas tree, if your heart can hold out until then.

Pfizer and an Indian generics company settled their patent suits and targeted November 30, 2011 as the date when a generic version of Lipitor can be made in the U.S..

The deal also covers Caduet, which combines Lipitor with Norvasc, a blood pressure medicine.

Lipitor is the best-selling statin drug in the country. Statins are designed to lower cholesterol levels. Its generic name is atorvastatin.

Pfizer won the market in the early 1990s by testing Lipitor at high dosages with safety, allowing it to claim immense improvements in LDL cholesterol levels.

Lipitor is now worth $7.4 billion per year to Pfizer, despite the fact that generic statins are on the market. Simvastatin is the generic form of Zocor, an earlier statin.

While the Lipitor patent had been due to expire in March 2010 Pfizer claimed in its lawsuits that it could not be made without infringing on other patents which don't expire until 2016.

To pressure Pfizer into releasing Lipitor, Ranbaxy had been challenging various Pfizer patents in courts around the world. The agreement calls off both sides' lawyers.

Ranbaxy, based in Gurgaon, India (southwest of Delhi), will soon be majority-owned by Daiichi-Sankyo of Japan.

The founding Singh family is selling its shares in a deal valuing Ranbaxy at $8.5 billion. The sale agreement was released a week before the settlement with Pfizer was announced.

What this means is that by Christmas of 2011 (if I live long enough) I could replace drugs which now cost $60/month in co-pays with a single generic pill costing as little as $10/month.

What a nice present that will be for my health insurer.

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