Trying to ballpark the market for cholesterol pills is becoming a pasttime. The latest survey of physicians shows that Lipitor will capture an incremental 10 percent to 20 percent of the statin market, which implies volume growth of 50 pecent to 70 percent, according to analysts at Leerink Swann, the Wall Street firm, which queried 61 specialists - 32 cardiologists and 29 primary care docs in the US.
The docs also forecast that 20 percent of Crestor patients will switch to generic atorvastatin, otherwise known as Lipitor, which translates to a drop of 3.4 percent of market share (down from 17 percent) over the next 12 to 24 months. Overall, up to 30 percent of the physicians questioned the need for branded statin therapy once generic Lipitor is broadly available, they write in an investor note.
For Crestor, the greatest reduction in utilization is expected to occur with the 10mg and 20mg dosage strengths. Vytorin usage is forecast to drop 10 percent. Following the introduction of Zocor generics, they continue, Lipitor sales dropped 29 percent in absolute terms over the three-year period following the launch of Zocor generics.
Based on historical data, Leerink Swann analysts Jason Gerberry and Seamus Fernandez write they expect roughly two-thirds of first year atorvastatin growth to occur in the second half of the generic launch year, which is when as many as eight generic alternatives will be available. They also point out that, "in the first year that generic Zocor became available, two-thirds of the growth occurred in the second half of the launch year, suggesting volume expansion is greater" when several generics are sold.