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Lipitor generic to hit the market: What consumers should know

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Don't buy fake generic Lipitor with tips from The Partnership for Safe Medicine

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) issued a safety alert for consumers taking Lipitor, from concerns about fake generic versions of the medication. The drug, given to treat cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease in high risk people, will likely be available in 2012.

The generic name for Lipitor is atorvastatin calcium.

Patients taking Lipitor are advised to only switch to generic with the advice of their physician or pharmacist.

If you do switch to generic, tell you doctor about new symptoms that could be a side effect of the medication.

Never buy generic Lipitor from an unlicensed pharmacy.

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If you decide to purchase the medication online, only buy from a pharmacy that VIPPS certified, which means it is run by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

PSM also recommends avoiding Canadian pharmacies. According to the NABP, 95 percent that claim to be pharmacies are neither pharmacies or licensed.

The Partnership for Safe Medicines believe ‘criminals’ will try to take advantage of consumers hoping to find a generic Lipitor ‘bargain’.

PSM President, Dr. Marv Shepherd, director of the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies at the University of Texas-Austin says:

"The popularity of Lipitor, and the likely popularity of its generic equivalent, will entice to criminals peddling fake versions to unsuspecting patients. We want to make sure patients are aware of this threat and ensure that they purchase the regulated FDA-approved versions."

For help with your medications, you can ask your physician for a list of assistance programs that are available, or visit needymeds.org. To ensure you don’t get fake Lipitor once it becomes available, purchase at your pharmacy or if buying online, make sure the pharmacy is VIPPS certified. You can find a VIPPS accredited pharmacy here.