GSK scores a Part D exclusive for slow-starting lung meds Incruse, Anoro

GSK CEO Andrew Witty

Back in February, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) CEO Andrew Witty said its slow-starting new respiratory drugs were finally picking up steam in the market-share department. And now, the company has won a formulary battle that should help it on that front.

Glaxo's LAMA med Incruse and its LAMA/LABA combo Anoro will be the only meds in their classes on the Medicare Part D formulary for CVS Health ($CVS) next year, the company has confirmed. That means come Jan. 1, Boehringer Ingelheim's respiratory rivals, LAMA med Spiriva and tandem drug Stiolto, will be hitting the road.

It's a boost for GSK, which has been working hard to secure payers' favor for its up-and-comers--especially as respiratory behemoth Advair declines. More than half of U.S. COPD patients are estimated to be covered by Medicare Part D, and CVS' SilverScript is the U.S.' second-largest standalone Medicare Part D insurer, according to its website.

And Glaxo isn't stopping there. The pharma giant is working with other payers and PBMs on their formulary decisions for the coming year. It's "very pleased with the progress we have made in these negotiations and that our broad portfolio of new and innovative respiratory medicines have helped expand access for more patients," company spokeswoman Karen Hagens told FiercePharmaMarketing in a statement.

Meanwhile, it's not good news for Boehringer, whose respiratory haul has already taken a beating on payer arm-twisting. With Spiriva's sales coming off an 8.1% drop last year, the company is relying on Stiolto--approved in the U.S. just this May--to help its business return to moderate growth

Both BI and GSK may have some new competition to worry about before the year is out, though. Novartis ($NVS) is currently waiting on an FDA decision for its LAMA/LABA contender, Ultibro Breezhaler, which is already challenging their combo meds in Europe.

- see the 2016 formulary (PDF)

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