MONTPELIER, Vt. — With its patent expiring in 2011, Pfizer has spent the last five years finding angles to retain its market dominance as generic products gain momentum, according to WCAX Vermont.

At its peak, a prescription for Lipitor with insurance cost a consumer like Audrey Saltzman, a victim of a heart attack, $40 per month.

“I still pay quite a bit with it,” Saltzman told CBS News, “I’m on a fixed income and I imagine I’ll be taking it for the rest of my life.”

However, with generic drugs entering the market in the last five years, the three million peak Lipitor users have been offered cheaper drug options.

When generics were first being introduced, Dr. Tara Narula of Lenox Hill Hospital explained: “People tend to be afraid that by choosing a generic they are somehow getting an inferior medication and that’s really just not the case.”

After peak revenue levels of $11 billion a year for Pfizer, the company has since embarked on efforts that aim to retain customers as Lipitor faces stiffer competition.

These strategies include discounts, incentives, and discount cards among other endeavors that can reduce the cost of Lipitor to just $4 per month. This lowered price could even place Lipitor below the price point of generic competition.

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