Lipitor, Pfizer's $2.9-billion cholesterol-lowering drug, and 3 other of the company's brand name pharmaceuticals, will be dropped from Express Scripts' preferred drug formulary and replaced by lower-cost generic alternatives, officials at the company announced. Express Scripts, which provides pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services to more than 50 million patients in North America, plans to convert many Lipitor users to Zocor, Merck's competing cholesterol drug, which will be open for generic competition next year.
Responding to the PBM's decision, officials at Pfizer announced that they will suspend rebates to Express Scripts in 2006. According to some industry analysts, the loss of Pfizer rebates could cost Express Scripts $50,000 over the short haul, but that money could be quickly recouped through the high margins available on generic drugs.
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