The NYT and the Journal both go C1 with news that Pfizer has reached a deal with an Indian generic drug maker that will give its blockbuster Lipitor cholesterol drug another twenty months of zero competition—until late 2011. That’s a lot of money it’s making there—Lipitor is the biggest selling drug in the world with 2007 sales of $13 billion.
Apparently Pfizer doesn’t consider the deal a payoff, even though it granted the Indian company licenses to sell the drug early in seven countries and ended a dispute about another drug in its favor. The Federal Trade Commission rightfully frowns on such deals, and the Times quotes a commissioner saying it will take a “very close look” at it.
One thing’s for sure: consumers are hurt by this. The Times says Lipitor costs about $3 a day, while a generic might cost “well below $1.”