Mylan's Advair generic pressures GSK with strong launch
- Three weeks into Mylan's launch of its copy of GlaxoSmithKline's blockbuster respiratory therapy Advair, the generic drug has captured nearly a quarter of the market, according to prescription data from Iqvia.
- Nearly 38,000 prescriptions were filled for Mylan's copy, sold as Wixela Inhub, in the week ending March 1, surpassing an authorized generic GSK launched in partnership with Prasco Laboratories.
- Mylan launched Wixela at a list price 70% lower than Advair's and 67% below the wholesale cost of the authorized generic. That discount appears to have helped fuel a strong launch, which should aid Mylan in its aim to earn more than $1 billion in new sales from drug launches this year.
Mylan's copy of Advair (fluticasone propionate/salmetrol) had a long road to winning U.S. approval. But now that Wixela is on market, the drug has quickly made large prescription gains on GSK's branded product.
Over the first two weeks following Mylan's Feb. 12 launch, about 9,000 prescriptions were filled for the drug. In the third full week of commercial sales, however, Wixela prescriptions surged to 37,643, Iqvia data cited by Wall Street analysts show. That represents about 24% of the total prescriptions for both branded and generic products in the week ending March 1. (Prasco's authorized generic accounts for about 15%.)
Umer Raffat, an analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote in a note to clients the strong launch suggests some insurance formularies have adopted Wixela immediately.
In Medicare Part D, which accounts for about half of branded Advair usage, Mylan has said the company enjoys full parity and access for Wixela in eight out of 10 plans.
"While we are seeing misaligned financial incentives for complex products in the retail pharmacy space, we were able to apply our learnings from generic Copaxone and adopt a unique launch strategy with Wixela," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said on a recent earnings call, referring to the company's copy of a Teva Pharmaceutical multiple sclerosis drug.
For its part, GlaxoSmithKline has long prepared for the financial impact of generic competition to its former top-seller — preparations helped by several delays Mylan faced in securing an OK.
Still, the British drugmaker expects its adjusted earnings per share to fall between 5% and 9% at constant exchange rates this year due to generic pressure on Advair.
Prescription numbers three weeks into launch suggest GSK was correct in expecting a large impact.
- BioPharma Dive Mylan launches Advair generic at 70% discount
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