(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) (WGGB)–The popular cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor is now available as a generic.
The pharmaceutal company Pfizer lost its patent protection on the drug so other manufacturers can start selling generic forms of the medicine.
What’s the difference between a brand name drug like Lipitor and a generic version? Dr. Glen Stettin of Medco Health Solutions explains,” For generic drugs they have the same active ingredient as the brand name drug, and the big difference is they tend to be significantly less expensive, one half to two thirds less expensive over time,” says Dr. Stettin.
Should a person on Lipitor change to a generic version if it’s so much less expensive?
Dr. Gregory Giugliano of Baystate Medical Center says patients should consult their individual doctors before making their choice,” If you’re well and the co-payment is not a large amount and you’re doing well on the medicine you’re on, I probably wouldn’t change things,” says dr. Giugliano.
But if going generic will save you a lot of money, then it should be a consideration.
Dr. Giugliano also says although Wednesday is the day we’re coming off a patent for Lipitor, it doesn’t mean you’ll see a dramatic change in the price right away,” You’re probably going to see a small drop in price in the 10 to 20 percent range here but not until six months until we have a couple of other companies making the generic form on the market when we see a significant decline in the price,” says Dr. Giugliano.
Lipitor is a big seller for Pfizer.
Nearly nine million Americans take it.