Business And Finance In Brief
FDA approves Novartis' Extavia for MS: FDA approved on Aug. 17 Novartis' first multiple sclerosis drug Extavia, a branded version of interferon beta-1b, which is sold by Bayer Schering as Betaseron. The approval will enable Novartis to gain experience in the MS market as it prepares to commercialize its more important oral therapy fingolimod (FTY720) (1"The Pink Sheet," Feb. 2, 2009). The drug maker says it will price Extavia lower than other first-line injectable disease-modifying therapies for MS, though it had not released specifics as of Aug. 21. Extavia is approved for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations and also is indicated for patients who have experienced a first clinical episode of MS and have features consistent with the disease as shown by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Novartis gained rights to interferon beta-1b from Bayer Schering. It expects to launch Extavia this fall, backed by a patient support program as well as access to a nurse helpline, one-on-one injection training and assistance with insurance coverage
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SHANGHAI - China's Ministry Of Health released Aug. 18 the first part of the essential drug list for community health organizations, which consists of 205 chemical drugs and biologics as well as 102 traditional Chinese Medicines. The implementation will begin Sept. 21 in 30 percent of the government-run low-tier hospitals and clinics
Novartis is launching its interferon beta-1b product Extavia not to be competitive in the multiple sclerosis market so much as to get a sales infrastructure up and running for its late-stage oral MS drug fingolimod (FTY720), Pharmaceuticals CEO Joe Jimenez said during the firm's 2008 year-end earnings call Jan. 28
Newly released Medicare Part D data sheds light on the sales hit that branded pharmaceutical manufacturers will face when the coverage gap discount program gets under way in 2011