Chronic disease therapies dominate top-selling drugs in Taiwan

Seventy percent of the 20 best-selling drugs in Taiwan are used to treat blood pressure, strokes and other chronic diseases, according to a survey conducted annually by the local newspaper, United Evening News. The best-selling drug, however, is used to treat hepatitis B.

Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) Baraclude (entecavir) got the top ranking for 2014, the survey said, selling nearly $63.7 million worth. Herceptin (trastuzumab), Genentech's breast-cancer treatment, was ranked second on the list, with the Novartis ($NVS) drug Glivec (imatinib) for leukemia coming in at third.

Pfizer's ($PFE) Lipitor (atorvastatin) led the chronic-disease category and ranked fourth on the best-seller list. It was followed by AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Crestor (rosuvastatin) at fifth and Sanofi's ($SNY) Plavix (clopidogrel) at sixth.

Some of the more expensive drugs on the market also sold better during 2014, the survey showed, with Shire's ($SHPG) Replagel (agalsidase), which is used to treat the rare Fabry disease at a cost of more than U.S. $3,000 a shot, making the top-20 list.

An oral version of hepatitis C drugs is expected to reach Taiwan's market soon, according to one analyst. At nearly USD $80,000 per regimen, it will probably become the costliest drug immediately.

- here's the United Evening News story (in Chinese)
- here's the China Post's take