Teva Won’t Launch Generic Lipitor in US

Teva Pharmaceuticals have decided not to retail atorvastatin, a generic version of Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol medication Lipitor, in the US.

In December 2011, the Israeli drug maker signed an agreement with Ranbaxy Laboratories to help Ranbaxy during the 180-day exclusivity period they had to sell their copycat version of Lipitor (atorvastatin).  The agreement has resulted in Ranbaxy taking around $600 million, while Teva’s funds have been enhanced by $300 million.

However the exclusivity period ended today, opening up the market for a variety of other businesses like Dr Reddy’s, Mylan, Aurobindo Pharma and Actavis, which is in the process of being bought by Watson Pharmaceuticals, who are already selling their authorised generic drug under a deal with Pfizer.  Both Dr Reddy’s and Aurobindo are awaiting the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval.

At the end of 2011, the US FDA granted tentative approval for Teva’s version of Lipitor. Explaining Teva’s decision not to launch their version, William Marth, chief executive of Teva’s Americas unit, commented that “we’ve made a really hard choice on not launching atorvastatin.”  He added that “the reason we came to that decision was, when we looked at our product, we only had it in the 30-tablet bottle.”

Mr Marth noted that it “doesn’t mean that sometime in the future we may launch atorvastatin,” and mentioned that the decision not to sell certain products, such as generic Lipitor and copies of Merck & Co’s older statin Zocor (simvastatin) will cost the organisation roughly $150 million.

The business announced that the decision was part of the company’s strategy to optimise their resources, as atorvastatin would have taken up a big portion of both its API and oral dosage formulation facility.  Additionally, the market for the medication is more compact than Teva had initially expected, with 7-8 new players joining the market.


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