Tuesday, June 28, 2011

IMS's Early Scrip Data: Vertex Captures 3/4ths of US Market

This is yet another facet of Merck's manifold disappointments -- from the once touted Schering-Plough legacy R&D pipeline -- (the one for which Ex-CEO Fred Hassan personally carted off perhaps $325 million in value, while busting-up and selling-off SP to Merck, in November 2009). Per The Street.com's online feed:

. . . .So far, Vertex is beating Merck, which means the marketing battle between Incivek and Victrelis is playing out largely as expected.

For the week ended June 17 (the most current data available), doctors wrote 460 prescriptions for Vertex's Incivek compared to 160 prescriptions written for Merck's Victrelis, according to weekly prescription data compiled by IMS Health. Weekly IMS drug prescription data tracks retail pharmacy, mail order and long-term care distribution channels.

That puts Incivek's market share at 75% compared to Victrelis' 25% with about five weeks of prescription data available. Even before the two drugs launched, investors were expecting Incivek to garner more prescriptions, with some analysts forecasting a 75% market share split for Incivek at peak.

The current consensus 2011 sales forecast for Incivek is $490 million, according to the sell-side analysts who cover Vertex. . . .

We will keep you posted, but the overwhelmingly good nesws here is that we are seeing Hep C being cured, right before our eyes.


Anonymous said...

How are you "seeing HCV being cured right before your eyes"?

Condor said...

Thanks for the question, Anon. --

With SVRs approaching 90 percent of treatment naive patients, and approaching 80 percent in prior non-responders, between 8 in 10 and 9 in 10 patients (depending on whether they've had a prior treatment failure) are free from the Hep C virus.

That is, after 24 weeks of therapy, the virus is not detectible in their blood.

Most scientific writers are calling that a cure.


Anonymous said...

The label dosen't say "cure"...the publications don't say"cure" - I'm sure you don't want to promote off-label claims!

And SVR rates seen in clinical trials haven't been confirmed yet in real world use.

Curb your enthusiasm...

condor said...

I hear you -- but your tart reply isn't terribly helpful.

I am not employed by either company. I am certainly not endorsed by (or endorsing) any of these products, or companies. These are my opinions. In fact, any doctor could say the same free of liability (so long as s/he isn't compensated by one of the companies).

More broadly, this is still America, afterall -- and patients will always consult with their doctors before getting either Hep C treatment.

And so -- if it vexes you that I call an important moment in the history of medicine for what it plainly is -- I am entirely okay with that.

Namaste, and try to have a safe and happy 4th, one and all!

Anonymous said...

Long-term studies with PEG-ribavirin combination have demonstrated that 97% of patients with a SVR defined as viral negative by HCV-RNA PCR are virus free after 7 years. The actual therapy used to achieve SVR is not as important as the fact that SVR was achieved. As such most clinicians define SVR as a cure.

The FDA as well as other regulatory authorities do not accept the term "cure" as there is no assurance that the virus will never come back and there is no assurance that irreversible liver damage has not already occurred in the absence of virus or that the patient can still have progression of their liver disease.

The 3% that do have a late relapse following SVR may very well be attributed to lab errors at the 24 week follow-up visit or reinfections possibly due to continued IV drug use.


condor said...

Breaking 80-20 in favor of Vertex, in early IMS scrip data.