Since the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided to remove marketing for the type 2 diabetes drug Avandia last month because of the risk it poses for heart attacks, the research group Datamonitor has conducted a survey in an effort to understand how this decision will affect consumer buying and physicians prescribing the drug.
Of course, the United States’ FDA also has issued severe restrictions on the marketing of Avandia, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Datamonitor’s study revealed the following:
• Avandia sales will drop to zero in Europe by 2011 when marketing authorization is suspended. In the USA, Avandia sales will plummet due to safety concerns and FDA restrictions, but Datamonitor predicts a small number of patients will remain on Avandia because they cannot tolerate other therapies.
• There currently is no strategy for most doctors to change patient therapies. This, in turn, will not assist any one anti-diabetic drug to gain market share.
• Even though a lot of patients likely will want to be switched onto the less fearful drug Actos, made by Takeda, it is expected that Takeda will not be able to capitalize for long off of Glaxo’s downfall because Takeda will lose its patent protection in 2011.
• More than likely, some other patients will switch to using Merck & Co’s highly-successful drug Januvia (sitagliptin). These drugs don’t work as well at lowering blood sugar, but they have proven safer and offer fewer side effects.
• Byetta and Victoza probably will get themselves some patients, and this will definitely help them with their class of drugs — at least, before something else comes along that works better and for a longer time period.
• Some patients will be switched from Avandia to the more common method of just using insulin with needles. This is likely to be the case for those that could benefit from using the once-daily basal insulins like Lantus and Levemir.
• Avandia’s sales restrictions will hurt GlaxoSmithKline the most from 2010 to 2012. Datamonitor is predicting the company’s losses to be more than $1.2 billion during that time.
• Regardless of Avandia’s losses in 2010 to 2012, the anti-diabetics market will grow by more than $200 million because of the restrictions and patients switching drugs.