PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The drug is called “Atorvastatin,” but you probably know it as Lipitor, and starting today it is going generic. That’s big news because many people who couldn’t afford it or were splitting pills can now get the medication much cheaper.

Basically, the co-pay for a generic medication is only about $10 dollars. That’s different than branded drugs at $29 to $49 dollars.

More important than that, the theory is that more people will start taking the medication and following through with it. This could make big differences in lowering not only cholesterol but the very important element LDL or bad cholesterol.

There are other generic medications in the same group, the statins that are out there including Zocor (Simvastatin) Pravachol (Pravastatin) and Mevacor (Lovastatin). Lipitor is the latest to join the group and it may end up being the most popular of the generics.

Reported by Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio 1060