PFIZER's ANTI-DIABETIC GLUCOTROL WORLDWIDE SALES REACH $30 MIL. IN 1985; GLUCOTROL's GROWTH SOFTENS, BUT DOES NOT COVER, DIABINESE LOSSES TO GENERICS
Pfizer's second generation hypoglycemic antidiabetic agent Glucotrol posted worldwide sales of $30 mil. in 1985 -- the drug's first full year of U.S. marketing, the company said in its just-released annual report for 1985. "Glucotrol's strong performance," Pfizer stated, "reflects its growing aceptance by the medical community as a drug for first-line therapy in newly diagnosed non-insulin dependent diabetic patients and in patients doing poorly on other agents." Marketed overseas since 1973, Glucotrol (glipizide) was approved in the U.S. in May 1984 coinciding with the patent expiration on Pfizer's first generation hypoglycemic Diabinese (chlorpropamide). Despite the contribution from Glucotrol, sales of Pfizer's antidiabetic products declined 29% to $135 mil. in 1985 due to the market encroachment from generic chlorpropamide. Worldwide sales of Diabinese declined to just over $100 mil. in 1985 after topping $160 mil. in 1984. The Pfizer annual report explains that the "introduction of generics shortly after the patent expiration of Diabinese in October 1984 has severely affected Diabinese sales. The virtually simultaneous approval of a large number of generics resulted in significant price discounts among competing manufacturers." In addition to the influx of generic products, Pfizer noted that the introduction of the second generation hypoglycemics in mid-1984 "also depressed Diabinese sales." Sales of Pfizer's major Rx product category, antibiotics, continued to decline in 1985, falling 2% to $496 mil. Pfizer antibiotic annual sales have declined nearly $100 mil. since 1983 due to declining sales from its older antibiotic lines, Vibramycin and Bacacil/Spectrobid. However, sales of Pfizer's Geocillin increased in the U.S. last year "due to its growing acceptance in the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection and to its leadership position in the treatment of prostatitis," the annual report states. The continued decline in antibiotic sales, Pfizer explained, is due to "government-mandated price reductions in Japan, to the effect of foreign currency translations and to continued competition worldwide from generic substitutes for Vibramycin." The company pointed out that "about 70%" (or almost $350 mil. in 1985) of its antibiotic sales are made outside the U.S. The good news in the antibiotic area for Pfizer was from the continued sales growth of the third generation cephalosporin Cefobid. The annual report says that Cefobid was the "fastest growing injectable antibiotic in the U.S. during 1985." Worldwide sales of Cefobid were up 17% in 1985 to $145 mil., the company reported. Pfizer initiated an aggressive DRG-protection marketing campaign for Cefobid at the end of 1985 as Merck's new Primaxin competition was entering the marketplace. Pfizer committed to supplying Cefobid free for use beyond the DRG specified length-of-stay for a patient ("The Pink Sheet" Dec. 23, p. 5). Pfizer's fastest growing product area is cardiovasculars, which posted a 20% sales increase in 1985 to $465 mil. Pfizer noted that its calcium channel blocker Procardia increased its sales in the U.S. by 38% to $219 mil. However, the Pfizer drug will face increased competitive pressure from nifedipine developer Bayer A.G., which launched its own version of the calcium channel blocking agent in January, called Adalat ("The Pink Sheet" Jan. 6, T&G-3). The company's other major cardiovascular agent, the alpha-blocker Minipress, posted a 9% sales gain last year. A second generation alpha-blocker featuring once-a-day dosing, Carduran (doxazosin), has marketing application pending overseas and is currently in Phase III clinicals in the U.S. Worldwide sales of Pfizer's major Rx product, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory Feldene, rose 14% to $461 mil. in 1985. The company noted that last year overseas regulatory approvals were obtained for a suppository form of the drug, a dispersible tablet and an injectable form. In addition, Feldene also has been approved for new indications such as dysmenorrhea and analgesia outside of the U.S., the annual report noes. Feldene is currently in Phase III studies in the U.S. to support dysmenorrhea and analgesic claims. Pfizer's drug business exhibits an unusual balance with three categories contributing between $485-496 mil. in sales in 1985. By contrast, in 1981, one line (antibiotics) accounted for more than one-third of the company's total Rx sales. Chart omitted.
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