Look out, Teva: Mylan's Copaxone copy has already captured serious share

Copaxone
Mylan won FDA approval in October for 40-mg and 20-mg copies of Teva's Copaxone.

Mylan’s long-acting Copaxone copy won FDA approval just three months ago, but it’s already gobbled up a sizable chunk of Teva’s market share.

The copycat boasts a 10% piece of the total-prescriptions pie, Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan, M.D., wrote to clients, citing IMS Health data from the week ended Dec. 22. Long-acting Copaxone is hanging on to a 72% share, while Teva’s original formulation of the multiple sclerosis blockbuster, Copaxone 20 mg, still has 12%.

RELATED: Mylan surprises analysts, Teva with long-delayed Copaxone approvals

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Glatopa, a generic from Novartis’ Sandoz of that older product, has just a 5% share after launching in June of 2015, highlighting just how quickly Mylan’s knockoff has ascended. In early October, the company trumpeted approvals of both its 40-mg and 20-mg versions after years of delays and a June “information request” from regulators that left some analysts convinced an OK wouldn’t arrive till next year.

“Big win for them (and to be honest, most observers—including myself—had written off any generic Copaxone approvals till 2018),” Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat wrote in a note to clients after the surprise go-ahead.

RELATED: Teva scrambles to match 30% Copaxone discounts from Mylan's knockoff: analyst

How has Mylan done it? Price, for one; a few days after approval, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal wrote in his own investor note that the generics giant was dishing out 25% to 30% discounts versus the “prevailing price” on Teva’s med, adding that it was “not quite done.” Teva, for its part, was countering.

But Mylan hasn’t relied solely on price to make its mark against an award-winning rival. It also rolled out its Mylan MS Advocate patient support program, Divan pointed out, adding that the move “showed their commitment to this launch and should help them gain share given how important patient support programs are in the multiple sclerosis market.”

Meanwhile, more competition is the last thing Teva needs, especially with the generics side of its business seriously struggling. In 2016, U.S. revenues accounted for 82% of the blockbuster’s global haul.

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