Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Although recent approvals ofgeneric versions of cholesterolloweringstatin drugs have triggeredan upsurge in prescriptionsfor these medications,Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium)and other brand namestatins continue to account forthe majority of the prescriptionswritten for these products,according to a new analysis by Consumer Reports BestBuy Drugs. The analysis found that, despite the availabilityof generic versions of Zocor (simvastatin) and2 other statins, branded products continued toaccount for 71% of the prescriptions for these cholesteroldrugs during the second half of 2006.

"The 3 generics available to lower cholesterol andhelp prevent heart attacks can save consumers significantamounts of money, and that is critical forthose patients who have trouble paying for theirmedicines,"said Gail Shearer, project manager forConsumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. "A person ismuch more likely to continue taking a needed medicineif [he or she] can afford it."Predicting thatgeneric statins will become increasingly less expensiveover time, Shearer said that patients now areable to reduce their medication costs by as much as$1000 a year by switching to a generic cholesterol-loweringdrug.