Prolia Pricing: Straddling Osteoporosis And Oncology
Amgen's first-in-class Prolia (denosumab) is burdened with a high price point as it joins the competitive and price-sensitive osteoporosis market. With a wholesale acquisition cost of $1,650 a year - including two $825 injections - Prolia will officially cost more than the leading branded drugs Actonel (risedronate), Boniva (ibandronate) and Reclast (zoledronic acid), and it will have to compete against generic versions of the gold standard, alendronate (Merck's Fosamax)
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The big biotech is investing heavily in two late-stage drugs – one for high cholesterol and the other for osteoporosis – that will test its ability to expand its specialty marketing savvy into primary care markets. Denosumab, launched in 2010 for osteoporosis under the brand name Prolia, was a first step, but investors see bigger opportunities ahead.
Already on an upward trajectory in oncology uses, Amgen’s denosumab, known as Prolia and Xgeva, got a bit of a boost with FDA approval of two new indications for treatment-induced bone loss in prostate and breast cancer – though neither is expected to add much to the bottom line.