30. May 2012 14:02
Teva has cancelled its plans to join the already crowded market for atorvastatin, the generic version of Pfizer’s fading blockbuster Lipitor.
The global generics leader will collaborate with Indian companies Ranbaxy and Dr. Reddy’s to promote the cholesterol-lowering drug in the US market, without offering its own version.
The decision, according to Teva, came down to two factors: increasing competition and limited manufacturing capability.
Since Lipitor’s patent expiry in November 2011 (US) and May 2012 (EU), eight companies (including Pfizer) have launched generic versions of atorvastatin.
In addition, the drug was likely to dominate Teva’s manufacturing facilities for active ingredients and pill formulations.
Pfizer has stopped marketing Lipitor where its patent has expired, meaning that the brand’s $13bn annual revenue is up for grabs.
Teva Americas CEO William Marth said: “It’s a tough decision, a hard decision not to launch at this time. That doesn’t mean that sometime in the future we may not launch atorvastatin.”
Referring to the challenge of manufacturing the world’s most widely prescribed drug, he added that the reason for the decision was “when we looked at our product, we only had it in the 30-tablet bottle”.
Ranbaxy has earned $600m from atorvastatin in the US under the company’s 180-day exclusivity period (now expired) as the first generic supplier. Half of that went to Teva by agreement.