With a revolutionary approach to hepatitis C and a price tag of $84,000 per 12-week treatment course, analysts expected big sales from Gilead's Sovaldi. Some even forecast it would reach $9 billion or more by 2017, at which level it would surpass Pfizer's Lipitor to take the crown for biggest-selling drug of all time. But none expected the exponential growth the drug is posting right now.
Merck KGaA's multiple sclerosis treatment Rebif is holding its own. Considering that the German drugmaker's flagship product faces some formidable new competitors--including Biogen Idec's brand-new powerhouse, Tecfidera--that's not too shabby.
For Endo's testosterone therapy Aveed, the third time wasn't the charm with the FDA--but the fourth time was. After a trio of rejections, the FDA has given the thumbs up to the Low-T drug, and the Malvern, PA-based company expects to launch it this month. But amid the safety questions surrounding testosterone drugs, doing so may not be so easy.
Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca will just have to duke it out for share of the market for SGLT2 treatments for diabetes. A potential third competitor from Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim, empagliflozin, failed to win FDA approval, thanks to problems at a Boehringer manufacturing plant.
Sales of Sanofi's rare-disease treatment Kynamro, approved last January, got off to a slow start, but that situation shouldn't persist now that the French drugmaker's Genzyme unit has beefed up its sales force.
Doctors have been prescribing Roche's cancer drug Avastin off-label to treat some of the same vision problems as its eye drug, Lucentis. Now, Italy's antitrust authority has fined Roche and marketing partner Novartis, accusing them of colluding to push doctors toward the pricier option--claims the pair denies.
Drugmakers aren't spending as much on speaking fees these days. Some companies--namely Pfizer and Eli Lilly--have slashed physician payments by more than half.
Japan's health ministry is one of the world's toughest when it comes to demanding truth in advertising. The newest target of its scrutiny is Takeda Pharmaceutical, which is now admitting it may have mis-marketed its hypertension drug Blopress. Takeda's CEO, Yasuchika Hasegawa, told reporters at a news conference on Monday that the company used "inappropriate expressions" to advertise the drug, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Teva doesn't have much time left to switch patients over to its new, thrice-weekly Copaxone injection before generics jump on the current product. And while the company is working feverishly to market its new drug to patients, insurers may be the most difficult to persuade.
Pfizer is one step closer to another $1 billion-plus in sales for its Prevnar 13 franchise. Data from a huge new study showed that Prevnar worked at preventing pneumonia in patients 65 or older, which puts the vaccine in line for stepped-up use.