Generic vs. Brand Name Lipitor


1. The top generic competitor to Lipitor (atorvastatin) comes from Ranbaxy Laboratories.

2. Pfizer’s huge recent efforts to discount Lipitor with its $4 Dollar Lipitor Card have extended its battle with generic manufacturers.

3. Generics aren’t the only pharmaceutical products that have quality issues. Lipitor was recalled in huge quantities in 2010 for chemical contamination issues.

The Basics (For those who never took CHEM 101):

  1. Check with your insurance company for price differences between the generic and brand name Lipitor. Prices vary widely between providers, and in some cases make the brand name product your cheapest option. Click the following link for more information about the $4 Lipitor Co-Pay Card.
  2. Raxbaxy Laboratories, an Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer, is the leading generic competitor to Pfizer’s Lipitor. Pfizer has also partnered with Watson Pharmaceuticals to distribute an authorized generic version of the best-selling drug.
  3. In general, atorvastatin (Lipitor) is most highly prescribed for patients with high LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. If you have milder cholesterol issues, other statins (cholesterol fighters) may be your safest option.

Intermediate Information (For our favorite amateur researchers):

  1. The $4 Lipitor Co-Pay card is not for everyone. According to Pfizer’s Lipitor site, “This Card is not valid for prescriptions that are eligible to be reimbursed, in whole or in part, by Medicaid, Medicare or other federal or state healthcare programs.” See full terms and conditions here.
  2. Lipitor sale’s peaked at nearly $13 billion a year, and has kept its manufacturer, Pfizer at the top pharmaceutical company by total revenues. But the end of Pfizer’s patent on Lipitor could significantly change their position.
  3. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a generic drug is the same as a brand name drug in dosage, safety, strength, how it is taken, quality, performance, and intended use. Drug products evaluated as “therapeutically equivalent” can be expected to have equal effect and no difference when substituted for the brand name product.

Advanced Science (For those MD/Ph.D. geniuses):

  1. LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) levels are still the top indicator utilized by physicans to diagnose patient risk for cardiovascular illness.
  2. For over a decade, researchers have focused on the correlation between C-reactive protein levels and cardiovascular events. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein testing has been used to prescribe statins to individuals with 3mg/L or higher of C-reactive protein even if LDL levels are normal, a controversial practice according a recent Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs study.
  3. That same study indicated that expected LDL reduction from atorvastatin daily use ranges from 42%-46% for 20mg prescriptions to 46%-54% for 80mg prescriptions. These figures are higher than those for Zocor but lower than Crestor’s LDL reduction potential.