COMMENTARY

Switching From Simvastatin 80 mg: How to Shop for Statins

Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD

Disclosures

August 12, 2011

In This Article

Final Thoughts From the Statin Savvy Shopper

Experienced shoppers (like me) look for sales and "presales." Generic simvastatin remains on the "sale" rack but now has style (dosing) concerns. Lipitor® is now on presale. Its patent is soon to expire, and it should be available in generic form in November 2011.[15] This means only good things for consumers when it comes to price. Cost of medication is a major barrier for many patients.

However, now there's another interesting twist. Pfizer Inc.'s latest strategy is to obtain over-the-counter status for atorvastatin (Lipitor). Simvastatin has been available over the counter in the United Kingdom since 2004. However, the recent "simvastatin saga" will no doubt influence the FDA's decision. The likelihood of success is also foreshadowed by previous failed attempts by Merck & Co., Inc. (lovastatin [Mevacor®]) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (pravastatin [Pravachol®]) for sister drugs.[16,17]

Not all statins are created equal, and the cheapest drug may not necessarily the best for your patients. Other statin manufacturers may also step up to the plate and lower their prices and try to "get part of the action." When statin shopping, be sure to pick the right "size, style, and color" that is the best "fit" for your patients.

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