Pfizer Prepared To Compete With Generic Suppliers

Will Pfizer's actions add to negative concerns about the quality and effectiveness of generic drugs among patients?

On the front of its Business Day section, The New York Times (11/30) reported, “For the last year, Pfizer has been laying the groundwork to combat the looming competition against Lipitor, forging deals with insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and patients to meet or beat the price of its generic replacements.” The company “is completing relationships and shoring up discounts like a reduced co-payment of $4 a month versus the $10 customers would pay for many generic prescriptions.”

Is this just good marketing on the part of Pfizer or something else? Over the years I’ve been lead to believe that Pfizer has one of the strongest marketing programs in the industry. I wonder what we as pharmacists could learn from them in how to market our own services. In one of the local newspaper stories on this topic a patient, whose wife was on Lipitor, was quoted as being concerned about the quality of the generic formulations of Lipitor. Will this action by Pfizer add to that negative concern about the quality and effectiveness of generics in general or Lipitor in particular? Will this effort by Pfizer be followed by other drug companies as their drugs go off patent? Do you see this effort by Pfizer as problematic or nothing to be concerned about?