Watson Pharmaceuticals, currently the 5th largest pharmaceutical company in the United States, has officially launched an authorized generic version of the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor.
According to the WSJ, Watson will immediately begin shipping its generic lipitor, simply labeled atorvastatin calcium, under an exclusive supply and distribution agreement with Pfizer, whereby Pfizer manufactures the drug and Watson sells it, sharing net sales with Pfizer until 2016.
Other terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
Indian-based Ranbaxy, which was also expected to release its generic in the next six months, still awaits the green light from US authorities due to delays over problems with quality control and some of their Indian factories.
As far as prices go, Watson Pharm. CEO Paul Bisaro said in an interview on CNBC that the company is selling its generic version of Lipitor at a 50% discount to the recent price of the branded drug which range from $3.50 to $5 per pill, depending on the region of the country.
Lipitor, on the market since 1997, is among drugs called statins, which are meant to lower cholesterol and reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke.
According to IMS Health data, Lipitor is estimated to have sales of over USD 7.8 billion for the twelve months ending September 30, 2011.