Cholesterol Drug “Lipitor” Loses its Patent – A Good Deal for You?
The cholesterol drug Lipitor lost its patent today. The generic Lipitor will be much cheaper. But does that make it a good deal to you? Some side-effects are life-threatening. Why not make a life-style change instead?
LIPITOR USERS are in a celebratory mood, because today Lipitor lost its patent. Yes, the Lipitor patent – the legal imprimatur enabling Pfizer, Lipitor’s manufacture, a monopoly on the drug – has expired, which means that generic Lipitor can now be made by any drug company that can duplicate it and get FDA approval.
Pfizer may claim, but cannot back up, that the Lipitor it manufactures is superior to generic Lipitor. But au contrare – molecule for molecule – the generic stuff will be identical, and thus will work the same, including offering all those nasty side-effects.
To the Lipitor-uninitiated, know that Lipitor is a “statin” mostly associated with cholesterol, but is also used to treat people with a high risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications, as well as people with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
So, the good news about Lipitor losing its patent is that the market opens up to Lipitor generic competitors. Yes, the price will be going down. Now, it’s about $5.00 per pill. Soon, the price of a Lipitor generic drug, as estimated by a Harvard doctor I just heard on the PBS Newshour, will be $2.50 per pill. As others join the fray and manufacturing capacity increases, the price will decline further.
(Don’t fret for Pfizer, as they’ve been actively putting together a cabal of various entities, such as pharmacies, doctors, benefit manager and patents to maintain its market share by offering various incentives, such as Lipitor Coupons. More on that here.)
For those using Lipitor for all those ailments written above, paying less is a good thing. Happy people. However, I contend that many Lipitor users would be better off if, rather than now having a price incentive to use more, or beginning to use it, they made healthier life-style changes instead.
Consider the Side-Effects
Like most pharmaceutical drugs, Lipitor comes with a long list of side-effects, a partial list which includes:
Myalgias, arthritis/ arthralgias, diarrhea, headache, rashes, elevation of liver transaminases, elevation of creatine kinase a muscle enzyme, various gastrointestinal symptoms including flatulence, dyspepsia, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and various infection symptoms.
If the above list of Lipitor side-effects are insufficient to give you pause, here are some that are life-threatening:
Rhabdomyolysi, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, photosensitivity, vasculitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, angioedema, anaphylaxis. (Source for Lipitor side-effects.)
Read again the list of health conditions that Lipitor is made to ameliorate. Notice a common denominator among them?
Well, they’re all chronic, debilitating conditions that in many, many cases can be vastly improved through life-style changes. And yet, so many people are unwilling to change behavior that they cumulatively will spend this year in the U.S.A. over $289 billion (the 2006 number) for drugs that attempt to fix their health problems, many of which can be improved by adopting healthy life-style changes.
This might be understandable if the drugs that improved chronic, debilitating health conditions were safe, but as noted above, they’re not… people die or get ill from the side-effects, and also become dependent on the drugs.
Rather Not Do Drugs?
UPDATE: Check out Dr. Weil’s Four Alternatives to Antidepressant Drugs.
If you’re on Lipitor or some other pharmaceutical drug for a health condition that can be improved via a life-style change, check out some the information below and ask your doctor if your situation could be made better by doing something other than popping drugs.
Food is medicine, as you might have heard, and so start out by learning about superfoods and healthy diets. On this blog, read My Approach to Health, and from there read Diet 101 and/or Dr. Oz and the 14-Day Reboot Plan.
For more information about cholesterol, check out: 12 Myths About Cholesterol. Interested in lowering your cholesterol the natural way? For information and inspiration, check out one man’s pursuit of healthy cholesterol numbers. Red Yeast is sometimes prescribed by doctors to help lower mildly increased cholesterol – check it out here.
Finally, medical types are connecting the dots between pernicious, chronic diseases and are finding that obesity is one main culprit – or “common denominator”, to use a phrase elsewhere in this missive. So, here’s a fairly new term they devised – Diabestity. It equals obesity + diabetes.
Yes, combine obesity and diabetes and you get “Diabesity”, which the ever-insightful Dr. Mark Hyman discusses in this post, The Diabesity Epidemic – It May Be Coming To You. It’s about how to know if you’re at risk, or have diabesity, and what to do about it if you do.
Good reading to all!