That big thump you heard are the folks Astra Zenica saying “Oops” as a clinical study against Lipitor clearly showed Crestor 40mg demonstrated a numerically greater reduction versus atorvastatin 80mg, but the difference between the two did not reach statistical significance. In short it means that when Lipitor goes generic shortly a lot of patients can be moves from both branded Lipitor and Crestor thus saving employers and insurers a lot of money.
“The differences between the two drugs were modest,” said Dr. Stephen Nicholls, the primary investigator of the Saturn study who presented the data at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in Orlando. Crestor has become AstraZeneca’s biggest product, with annual sales on pace to exceed of $6 billion this year, but its growth and pricing are sure to be pressured by generic Lipitor, or atorvastatin.
Given that a new study published on Monday shows patients are more likely to take their medicine when they do not have to help pay for the prescriptions my guess is that we’ll see a lot of Crestor patients moved to generic Lipitor when available. Pfizer has recently become very agressive with Lipitor pricing to benefit managers and with a Lipitor co-pay card but my guess is that once the media and employers get wind of what they are trying to do there will be a substancial backlash against what is seen as a ‘drug company trying to continue milking profits”.
It will be interesting to see how AZ positions the results from the Saturn study because even though the difference between the two was “modest” salespeople could try and use that as a key sales message. Crestor is already offering a co-pay card similar to Pfizers but with so much pressure to reduce healthcare costs this author feels that both Lipitor and Crestor are going to see a major sales decline when generic Lipitor is available.
- Astrazeneca shares fall on flat Crestor results (sfgate.com)
- Lipitor vs. Crestor: Cholesterol Drugs on a Par (healthland.time.com)
- AZ’s Crestor Scored Points, but Didn’t Beat Lipitor (dailyfinance.com)
- Astra’s Crestor Is Comparable to Lipitor in Study (online.wsj.com)
- Crestor Same As Lipitor In Stabilizing Plaque In Arteries (medicalnewstoday.com)