Wednesday, September 24, 2008
One Reason Why We Can't Buy Affordable Generics in the US, But We Could in Canada!
This is one of those things that you read that just pisses you off. A lawsuit in the US legal system that prevents a cheaper generic version of a widely taken and expensive drug from being sold here so that the developer can make several billion more dollars.
We don;t need to reduce cholesterol levels in our society at an affordable cost in order to offset other health care issues? That might accidentally help make us become more healthy and competitive.
We simply have to stop looking at things in such narrow silos, and begin to develop a higher level, long term vision for health care policy in the US that takes the impact of this type of litigation into account.
Canadians will be able to buy the generic, but we won't. I know many people in Florida who could afford a $30 a month generic, but will skip the $90-100 a brand name at the risk of their health.
A contributing factor as to why health care costs in the United States are higher than in many other countries. According to the New York Times, and Bloomberg, Pfizer and India-based Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. have agreed to delay the U.S. launch of a generic version of cholesterol drug Lipitor until November 2011. The lawsuit settlement also allows the sale of Ranbaxy's generic Lipitor in seven major drug markets, including Australia and Canada, and gives Pfizer 20 more months to find new products that can help offset as much as $12 billion of revenue at risk once Lipitor copies become available.
Roopesh Patel, an analyst at UBS Securities LLC in New York, said Lipitor could drop as much as 70 percent beginning in March 2010, when generics were expected to be available. See: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aYIgkVzhzaTU&refer=news
By delaying Ranbaxy’s generic version of Lipitor, which might have been sold as early as March 2010, Pfizer has won extra time for exclusive sales of Lipitor, potentially totaling billions of additional dollars. Lipitor’s current price can exceed $3 a day, while a generic version might eventually sell for well below $1. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/business/19drug.html?adxnnl=1&ref=business&adxnnlx=1213848541-yp6zk0nquoEgKsM/XLj2iw