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Pharmacies Accuse Pfizer of Price Fixing Lipitor

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11 California pharmacies have filed a federal antitrust complaint against Pfizer saying the pharmaceutical giant and generic drugmaker Ranbaxy have been illegally keeping the generic version of the cholesterol drug Lipitor off the market in the U.S. Lipitor is considered a blockbuster drug that generate over $1 billion a month in sales, and is called in the lawsuit, “the best-selling drug in the history of the pharmaceutical business.”

According to the lawsuit, Pfizer and Ranbaxy made a deal to extend Lipitor patents until November 30, 2011, at which time Ranbaxy was to get a 180-day “risk-free” monopoly on the generic version. The lawsuit also says the companies made a deal to lower the price of the generic drug to just slightly less than the brand price.

The lawsuits says,   “By delaying Ranbaxy’s generic version of Lipitor in the United States – which would have been lawfully sold as early as March 24, 2010 – Pfizer obtained extra time for the exclusive sales of Lipitor, totaling extra sales of Lipitor of approximately $18 billion dollars, which they would not have sold in the absence of the unlawful agreement with Ranbaxy. In return, Ranbaxy will be able to distribute a generic substitute for Lipitor earlier in foreign markets than it otherwise would have been able to do, reaping substantial profits it otherwise would not have gained.” The complaint goes on to say that, “the agreement by defendants denies purchasers’ access to a generic substitute to Lipitor in the United States for up to 20 months after the expiration of the active ingredient patent for Lipitor. Lipitor’s current price exceeds $4 a day, while a generic version will sell for between $0.25-$0.35 and even as low as $0.10. Consequently, Lipitor purchasers in the United States are paying now, and will continue to pay, inflated prices for this life-saving pharmaceutical at least through May of 2012.”

The lawsuit seeks damages equal to the difference between what Lipitor sold for without the generic and the price it would have been with competition if the generic would have been able to hit the market in March 2010. The lawsuit also seeks a court order to nullify the Pfizer-Ranbaxy “conspiracy,” Courthouse News has reported. disclaimer: This article: Pharmacies Accuse Pfizer of Price Fixing Lipitor was posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 at 8:20 pm at and is filed under Defective Drug Lawsuits.

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