'Pay-for-Delay' Earned Big Pharma $98 Billion on Just 20 Name-Brand Drugs

Would you rather pay as much as $205 for a 30-day supply of your prescription or $18 for a 30-day supply of your prescription? Well, it seems Pfizer thinks $205 is the appropriate cost. Why? Because it means they can make big bucks! It's called "Pay-for-Delay." But many people would call it crony capitalism.

Lipitor: People with high cholesterol pay as much as $205 for a 30-day supply of Lipitor. Now that the generic version is available, it costs $18. During the time the generic was delayed, Pfizer made $7.4 billion in sales of Lipitor in the last year alone.

U.S.PIRG — the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups — has released a study of 20 top generic drugs that were delayed by industry payoffs that resulted in $98 billion in total sales of the namebrand counterpart. However, that's just the beginning of the problem for consumers.


Pay-for-delay deals have postponed as many as 142 generics from coming to market, according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports. But since the details of these deals rarely become public, consumers have been largely kept in the dark about the problem.

"These 20 drugs from the report are just the tip of the iceberg," said Wells Wilkinson, Director of Community Catalyst's Prescription Access Litigation Project. "These schemes by the drug industry have forced consumers to pay billions more for just these 20 drugs. How many generics of other 'blockbuster' drugs have been kept out of reach by these backroom deals? How much has pay-for-delay cost consumers overall?"

Free market? Not really.


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