I'm reading an article on the potential "benefits" of nation-wide electronic medical records. I speaks of effects withing the pharmacy market and how Kaiser Permanent is disrupting it.
- Still, the potential for market-disrupting cost savings is illustrated by what Kaiser and the V.A. have done in their drug management programs with statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs. Statins are the largest prescription drug category in the United States, with sales of $16 billion last year, according to IMS Health, a research group; Lipitor ($8.4 billion), from Pfizer, and Zocor ($4.4 billion), from Merck, took 80 percent of the market.
In recent years, Kaiser and the V.A. have been using generic lovastatin for many of their patients taking statins, saving millions of dollars.At Kaiser, for example, its research pharmacists and cardiologists had been looking at closely at using the generic even before Merck’s Mevacor, the brand name for lovastatin, lost its patent protection in2001. Kaiser’s research on safety and effectiveness concluded that lovastatin could generally be used as an alternative.
I'm impressed at how this patient benefiting research is highlighted as a bad thing. It goes on to say that Liptor and Zocor are more potent versions of Lovastatin. So obviously they're better, right? At least it says the research is a good thing. i just can't help but feel like NYT is more interested in the pharm companies in this article.
Is brainwashing from pharm companies tis prevalent? Just because a drug is strong means it is better? Lowering patient costs for healthcare is good. Maybe reducing Lipitor's market share will actually spur Pfizer to research some new and useful drugs.