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Osteoporosis Drug Cuts Fracture Risk

From a blissfully oblivious Associated Press:

Studies: New osteoporosis drug cuts fracture risk

By Linda A. Johnson, Associated Press Writer

A first-of-its-kind osteoporosis drug lowers the risk of bone fractures as well as or better than current medicines, studies in older women and men with prostate cancer suggest.

Wall Street sees Amgen Inc.’s genetically engineered denosumab as a potential blockbuster crucial to the company’s future. But given the crowded market of treatments for the bone-thinning disease, doctors see its expected high cost as a big drawback

In early afternoon trading, Amgen shares rose $1.36, or 2.2 percent, at $62.61 as the broader markets declined.

Denosumab, an injection just under the skin given only twice a year, would have to compete against eight major types of pills and injected medicines, including estrogen and generic and brand-name Fosamax, the first drug approved for osteoporosis.

Most of those must be given more often, with pills swallowed once a day, week or month, a nasal spray inhaled daily, and one injection under the skin given daily. But another injection given intravenously is only needed once a year, and estrogen, while out of fashion because of its link to breast cancer, is available in skin patches changed once or twice a week.

Those drugs’ retail prices can range from about $385 a year for generic Fosamax, to $1,30 to $1,350 for most brand-name pills, to $11,100 a year for injected Forteo. Genetically engineered drugs, made by altering a cell’s DNA or other genetic material, all cost more than $10,000 a year.

Global sales of osteoporosis treatments, including hundreds of vitamin brands, exceeded $8.3 billion last year, according to data from IMS Health.

Analyst Steve Brozak of WBB Securities said denosumab should exceed the $1 billion a year sales threshold for blockbusters, but it’s unclear given the recession.

"You’re going to have blowback by insurers" over how much they are willing to pay, he said

Amgen spokeswoman Kerry Beth Daly said the company has not yet set a price for the drug, but will try to keep it affordable. She said pricing also will reflect denosumab’s twice-a-year dose schedule, given that about half the patients on existing drugs stop them within a year due to side effects or trouble keeping up with dose schedules.

It sounds good. But what if it is too expensive? Or what if there is any risk involved?

Or what if the Big Pharma company behind it might make too much money?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Osteoporosis Drug Cuts Fracture Risk”

  1. ilzito guacamolito says:

    Not to worry about Big Drug. ObamaCare will eliminate that big, bad business as it will Big Insurance.

  2. proreason says:

    Women living longer and more active lives are going to increase Health Costs…..over and above the shameless profits the drug companies will be making by exploiting people’s unpatriotic desires to live longer lives.

    Smells like a crisis to me.

    Government action will probably be necessary.

  3. crosspatch says:

    A vitamin D supplement every day from about the time you are 20 would probably make those drugs unnecessary in many cases.

  4. bousquem says:

    It’s going to be expensive as it’s a monoclonal antibody, or at least seems that way from the generic name. Obama care will probably allow it for all those in congress (including spouses) and those who are bootlickers for the left. The rest of us will just be told it’s too expensive. Of course if the goverment starts to cut care and “negotiate” drug prices to where there is no more profit, I really doubt we will see more drugs like this come out as they are expensive to develop and make.

  5. jobeth says:

    “Or what if the Big Pharma company behind it might make too much money?”

    Yeah, and if the big bad Pharma Companies actually make all that money…they might even invest it in newer…better…drugs that lengthen the lives of even more people!

    Pesky Companies! THAT will NEVER do.

  6. Media_man says:

    DNAB will be huge but it will make most of its money from treating bone cancer and other oncology indications. It’s interesting they will be trying it out in Europe first. If you have bone cancer or myeloma in the US & want this drug, you’ll need to book a flight to Paris.

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