Evista (raloxifene HCI)
Osteoporosis, breast cancer prevention
Global Sales 2012: $1.01 billion
U.S. Sales 2012: $699 million
Expiration Date: March 2014
Eli Lilly's ($LLY) drug Evista is used to treat osteoporosis but is also approved for reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and in postmenopausal women at high risk for invasive breast cancer. One study of 10,000 women found that those who were taking it were 55% less likely to develop the most common form of the disease, estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer. Evista is a selective estrogen receptor modulator and prevents osteoporosis by acting at the estrogen receptors, but it is not without its own risks, including blood clots and strokes.
In April, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that doctors offer the drug, or a similar one, tamoxifen, to high-risk patients to prevent the disease. New analysis led the organization to suggest the benefits for women 40 to 70 with a family history of breast cancer or a personal history of breast lumps or other problems. The advice is based on new analyses that clarify the drugs' preventive benefits and their risk of serious side effects. This news hit 11 months before Evista was slated to lose patent protection, so any financial bump it brings will accrue mostly to generic drugmakers.
One of those may be Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA), which has been trying for several years to release a generic of the drug. In 2010, a U.S. appeals court swatted away Teva's claim that the method-of-use patents were invalid. It backed Lilly's patent into 2014 but rejected the U.S. drugmaker's contention that the patents were valid through 2017.
Women at high risk urged to use breast cancer meds to prevent disease
Lilly's Evista has breast cancer benefits
Lilly gets patent support from appeals court
-- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)