Published Online: Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Although recent approvals of generic versions of cholesterollowering statin drugs have triggered an upsurge in prescriptions for these medications, Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) and other brand name statins continue to account for the majority of the prescriptions written for these products, according to a new analysis by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. The analysis found that, despite the availability of generic versions of Zocor (simvastatin) and 2 other statins, branded products continued to account for 71% of the prescriptions for these cholesterol drugs during the second half of 2006.

"The 3 generics available to lower cholesterol and help prevent heart attacks can save consumers significant amounts of money, and that is critical for those patients who have trouble paying for their medicines,"said Gail Shearer, project manager for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. "A person is much more likely to continue taking a needed medicine if [he or she] can afford it."Predicting that generic statins will become increasingly less expensive over time, Shearer said that patients now are able to reduce their medication costs by as much as $1000 a year by switching to a generic cholesterol-lowering drug.

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