Although the FDA approved the production of a generic version of Zocor in June 2006 by both Teva Pharmaceutical and Ranbaxy Laboratories, prices for the drug have dropped less than 10 percent since then. The recent approval of six more companies to sell generic Zocor should change that.
Analysts expect prices to drop as much as 70 percent with the new competition. According to the New York Times:
As the first companies to file for approval of generic versions of Zocor Ã¢â‚¬â€ known as simvastatin Ã¢â‚¬â€ Teva and Ranbaxy won six months of exclusivity under an American law aimed at offering an incentive to generic drug makers. That enabled them to keep prices close to what Merck charges.
The QDIS Blog adds:
This could have an impact on other brand name statin drugs particularly Lipitor from Pfizer, the best selling of all the statin class of drugs. Many health insurance companies are certainly going to recommend that their patients ask their doctor about switching to simvastatin as a means for not only controlling cholesterol but also controlling cost. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact it does have on the sales of LIpitor
As the QDIS Blog points out, I hope that this has an impact on the price of other statins on the market — but I doubt we will see that happen. This is where all that money that Pfizer has poured into direct-to-consumer marketing comes into play.20