Zocor (simvastatin) was available genericly June 2006 joining lovastatin (Mevacor) as the second HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor to be available in a generic formulation. Teva pharmaceutical has received tentative approval for generic Zocor. Upon final approval, Teva’s simvastatin tablets, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, 40mg and 80mg, will be AB-rated to Merck’s Zocor tablets.
It is estimated that generic Zocor will cost about 35 cents per day versus $2-$3 per day for branded formulations. Medicare could save $8.2 million next year by persuading patients to switch from brand-name cholesterol drugs to less expensive generic versions. In the fall of 2005, Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Express Scripts announced that it would remove Lipitor from its formulary in favor of Zocor.
The Journal of Managed Care 11(8):681-686, 2005 Oct reported clinical and economic outcomes of a conversion of simvastatin to lovastatin in a group-model health maintenance organization. This program resulted in substantial expenditure reductions for this HMO and 62% co-payment savings for members, without a compromise in clinical outcomes as measured by lipid control (effectiveness) and ALT levels (safety). Patient savings in reduced co-payments averaged $150 per patient. Similar conversion programs will occur when Zocor goes generic.
Evidence from published statin randomized placebo-controlled trials suggest that pravastatin, simvastatin, and atorvastatin, when used as their standard dosages, show no statistically significant difference in their effect on long-term cardiovascular protection. (Am Heart J 2006; 151:273-81).
Summary: Prescribing lovastatin and simvastatin provides cost savings for your patients while providing similar efficacy and safety.