EU expands use of Allergan's Ozurdex again
- Ozurdex is a sustained-release biodegradable steroid implant that contains that corticosteroid dexamethasone.
- Ozurdex is already approved in the EU and the US for treatment of macular edema in patients with retinal vein occlusion and for treatment of non-infectious uveitis. With the European label expansion, it may now be used in patients who have DME and an artificial lens implant, or are unresponsive to non-corticosteroid therapy.
- Broader expansion into diabetic macular edema (DME) and related conditions is a way for Allergan to increase Ozurdex sales.
Allergan continues trying to shore up its performance and prove its ability to remain independent in the face of Valeant’s aggressive takeover tactics. Given that paradigm, broadening Ozurdex's labeling is an important way for the company to bolster sales and strengthen its financial footing. Allergan posted healthy Q2 sales in July.
Ozurdex has the advantage of being cheaper than the currently used standard-of-care anti-VEGF treatments, including Lucentis (ramibizumab). The estimated annual cost of Ozurdex is approximately $1,950, compared with $24,000 for Lucentis. Many analysts believe that Ozurdex is a growing therapy that will increasingly nab market share from the anti-VEGF medications that currently dominate treatment of DME.