Yesterday, an attendee at the Marcus Evans PharmaMarketing Summit here in Chicago asked if Pfizer’s innovative plan to extend the life of its Lipitor franchise after patent expiration was a public relations failure. He was referring, in part, to my blog posts “Occupy Pfizer! Protest It’s Deal to Block Sales of Generic Lipitor! #OccupyPFE” and “Do Drug Coupons Hurt Employee Health Plans and Ultimately Employees?

Pfizer had hoped that its aggressive co-pay card/PBM discount plan would allow Lipitor to maintain a 40% share of the combined market for Lipitor and its generic equivalents for at least 6 months after generic brands are launched (see here). Today, I read in the Wall Street Journal that Pfizer 2012 first-quarter profit declined 19% (vs Q1 2011) as sales of Lipitor, tumbled 71% in the U.S.

“Global sales of the drug fell 42% to $1.4 billion, including $383 million in the U.S. The branded Lipitor’s U.S. prescription market share has declined to just over 30%, according to analysts, as competing generic versions from Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. have taken market share” (see here).

You could speculate that Lipitor sales would have dropped even further and faster if it were not for Pfizer’s Co-Pay discount plan, which also involved pharmacists dispensing Lipitor even when a generic version was prescribed by the doctor.

Or you could say that the plan failed to meet its goal, ie, 40% of U.S. market sales. There’s still a month or 2 before we reach the 6 month mark and sales of Lipitor can drop even further before then.