It may take a breakthrough treatment for Alzheimer's disease to match the $130 billion lifetime sales record of Pfizer's Lipitor, the fighter that wrote its own chapter in pharmaceutical history.
Lipitor's U.S. patent expires on November 30, unleashing a wave of cheap generics and ending a fabled run that began in 1997.
"There's Lipitor and then there's the rest," said Michael Kleinrock, research director of IMS Institute, which tracks sales of prescription drugs. "This is a real giant in the history of our industry and we may not see its likes for a while."
Of currently marketed drugs, Abbott Laboratories' rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira may have the best shot with annual sales of about $8 billion, which the company sees growing by $1 billion a year in the near future. But getting to Lipitor's peak annual sales of $13 billion in a therapeutic area with several competitors is a lot to ask.
According to Thomson Reuters Forecast, by 2016, the world's three top sellers will be rheumatoid arthritis treatments—with Pfizer Inc's Enbrel and Johnson & Johnson's trailing Humira.
The blood clot preventer Plavix from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi made a run at Lipitor, with sales of more than $9 billion, but like Lipitor its heyday is coming to an end.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/11/07/cholesterol-drug-lipitor-prepares-for-fadeout/#ixzz1d2RGwnYk