Generic pharmaceutical company Actavis recently announced that its third-party sales division, Medis, has shipped within the region of 30 million tablets of Atorvastatin to its Spanish clients. Four of Spain’s largest generic pharmaceutical companies recently launched the product and distribution of the first generic version of the blockbuster molecule to Spanish pharmacies has begun.
Atorvastatin is a part of the drug group known as statins. Statins are most commonly used for lowering and stabilising blood cholesterol levels and Atorvastatin is one of the most effective drugs used in the treatment of primary hypercholesterolemia.
Medis has invested significantly in different forms of the molecule due to the widely varying patent situations Atorvastatin tablets are subject to around the world. In Spain, the patent landscape is different to other Western European markets, and the originator product, containing Atorvastatin Calcium, is patented until 2010.
Three different dossiers for the product, Atorvastatin, are currently being promoted by Medis now and for almost two years the company has been supplying a product suitable for Central Eastern Europe. However, now Medis’ alternative generic, Atorvastatin Magnesium, can be launched in Spain, as it has been approved by the Spanish authorities. Medis has worked closely with its clients on the preparations for the launch.
Atorvastatin Calcium has already been launched in 15 countries across Europe and Asia, where there was no patent, by Actavis under its own brand name. Atorvastatin Magnesium will be launched in Spain under Actavis’ own brand name shortly.
Atorvastatin Magnesium is produced by Actavis in 10mg, 20mg and 40mg tablets. Pfizer, the originator, markets its product in Spain under the brand names of Cardyl® and Zarator®. Atorvastatin’s US brand name is Lipitor®. Annual sales of Cardyl® and Zarator® in Spain are approximately EUR 396 million (2008, IMS Health). Atorvastatin is currently the top selling drug in Spain, and indeed the world.