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24/7 Wall St.: The Best Selling Products of All Time

9. Lipitor

Category: Pharmaceutical
Units sold/sales: $125 billion revenue
Parent Company: Pfizer

Lipitor belongs to a class of drugs called statins that help lower the level of LDL — the so-called bad cholesterol — in the blood. It was developed by Warner-Lambert, which later merged with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), and was approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997. Though Lipitor was not the first in its class, its ability to reduce cholesterol and significant advertising quickly propelled it to the top of its class of drugs. The same year that it was released, the FDA began to allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. By 2008, the market size of drug advertising grew to more than $4.5 billion, and in 2009, Lipitor had the largest ad expenditure of any drug. This past November, Pfizer’s patent on the drug ended. Since 1997, the drug has had sales of over $125 billion, which amounts to 20% to 25% of Pfizer’s revenue during this time.
(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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