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The Cost to Treat Cholesterol Plummets
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iride6606 posted:
I've been saying it for months, and now reality is finally hitting the headlines. Per unit prices of cholesterol meds are down 12% and total net is down 14%. These drugs are no longer the cash cow of he drug business. That argument is outdated.


Generics make it cheaper, for now

The decline in spending on cholesterol busting compounds is thanks in part to the expiration of patent exclusivity for some of the nation's best-selling drugs. The biggest of these drugs, Lipitor, racked up more than $125 billion in total sales for Pfizer (peaking at over $10 billion per year) before it lost patent exclusivity in 2011.


The widespread availability of generic statins is cutting into sales of those branded statins remaining on the market, including Merck's (NYSE: MRK ) Vytorin and AstraZeneca's $5.6 billion a year Crestor (which goes off patent in 2016).


As a result, the unit cost for cholesterol-lowering drugs fell more than 12% last year as the percentage of scripts filled by generics rather than branded alternatives improved to better than three out of every four prescriptions.
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