New Sanofi heart drug outpaces Lilly's Effient

Now that the cardiovascular drug market has a couple of new entries, analysts are applying their skills. Their take: Eli Lilly's clot-buster Effient has been "sluggish" out of the gate, while Sanofi-Aventis' atrial fibrillation drug Multaq has hit the ground running. But even Multaq hasn't made huge advances.

According to data from IMS/Leerink Swann (as quoted by BNet Pharma), Sanofi's Multaq captured 3,606 scrips over a five-week period. Lilly's Effient, by contrast, accounted for only 1,823 scrips over the same period. "These IMS data reinforce our view that Effient's U.S. launch will be muted," Leerink's accompanying investor note stated. 

There's a caveat, however. The drugs hit the market in the summer, when folks are vacationing, not going to the doctor to tune up their drug regimens. That's likely to slow initial uptake. Plus, Effient's indication for post-procedure use means that it's started in the hospital, and drug-sales trackers don't have access to those scrips. So its numbers could see a quick upswing once those hospital scrips move to the pharmacy.

"There will be a delay in prescription data showing up in IMS, given that initial use occurs in the hospital setting," Lilly CFO Derica Rice told investors at a UBS conference (as quoted by Dow Jones). He added that Lilly has made "positive" progress in persuading health insurers to pay for the drug. We'll keep an eye on the figures to see if those efforts bear fruit on the scrip side.

- see the BNet Pharma piece
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