Pfizer manuevers to shield Lipitor from generics

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Pfizer is getting creative to preserve Lipitor's billions in sales as the cholesterol drug gets generic competition in the U.S. market.

Lipitor is used along with diet, exercise, and weight-loss to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. (Photo: Flickr/The.Comedian)

Pfizer is offering unprecedented discounts and incentives for patients, insurers and companies that process prescriptions. The deals will make the brand name as cheap as or cheaper than generics that go on sale Wednesday.

Normally when a drug's patent ends, generics grab nearly all its market share within a year. Pfizer isn't giving up that easy on Lipitor. The drug still brings in nearly $11 billion a year, a sixth of Pfizer's revenue.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson estimates Pfizer can still make a $100 profit on a 90-day supply of Lipitor under the deals. That's about half what it makes now.

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