Companies: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer
2018 U.S. sales: $3.8 billion
Used for: stroke, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism
Riding a wave as the anticoagulant to beat, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Eliquis put the warfarin alternative market on notice in 2018 with another round of strong sales.
Eliquis notched $3.76 billion in U.S. sales on the year, a remarkable 30.2% increase, gobbling up market share as it went. And analysts figure there's plenty more to come: They're expecting sales to increase anywhere between 15% and 22% in 2019.
Those gains have taken a bite out of Eliquis' rivals. After a 2017 in which Eliquis stole the worldwide sales mantle from J&J and Bayer’s Xarelto, Eliquis followed up in 2018 by taking a stranglehold on the warfarin alternative market—and then unseating warfarin itself as the top choice among anticoagulants.
In July, Bristol-Myers executives told investors that Eliquis was rapidly approaching outselling warfarin, which would give it an outright lead among all oral anticoagulants. Johanna Mercier, head of U.S. commercial for Bristol-Myers, called the drug’s expansion “just an incredible growth story.”
Eliquis had already passed its closest warfarin competitor, Xarelto, which has largely stagnated in market share over the past few years because of aggressive U.S. payer discounts and increased competition. Meanwhile, Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa, the remaining next-generation oral anticoagulant, has fallen to third place despite its first-in-class status.
Eliquis continues to challenge its rivals in new indications, too, including high-risk atrial fibrillation. In March 2019, Eliquis revealed phase 4 clinical study data showing a lower risk of bleeding and hospitalization over warfarin in such patients.