Pfizer had planned to sell its new heart drug, torcetrapib only in combination with Lipitor as I mentioned last week (Should we share Pfizer’s optimism?) Pfizer complained it would be too expensive to develop the drug any other way. That explanation didn’t pass the straight face test, and now Pfizer has backtracked and will sell the pill as a standalone.
From today’s New York Times:
..Pfizerâ€™s plan angered cardiologists, who said the company appeared to be putting its profits ahead of patientsâ€™ health. Not all patients can easily switch from one statin to another, and some patients cannot take statins at all. In June 2005, an article in The New England Journal of Medicine sharply criticized Pfizerâ€™s strategy.
Besides complaints from doctors, Pfizerâ€™s plan faced commercial and legal challenges. Some lawyers questioned whether offering torcetrapib only with Lipitor might violate antitrust laws. Meanwhile, Lipitor, though still the top-selling drug in the United States with sales last year of $7.4 billion, is losing market share to Zocor, whose price has plunged since it lost patent protection last month. As a result, Pfizer risked damaging torcetrapib by tying it to Lipitor, said Richard T. Evans, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.
Now Pfizer says it has changed its strategy.
Good thinking.July 26, 2006