Monday, June 23, 1997
One year after the marketing launch of Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Redux dexfenfluramine by the company and partner Wyeth-Ayerst, sales
of the weight-loss drug have plateaued and the next question for the companies
is how to ramp up to the next level. Interviews with physicians who treat obese
patients indicate that doctors like the drug, but that patients continue to
be influenced by reports in the popular press of dangerous side effects.
For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1996, IPIC posted $14.2
million in product revenue from Redux, including $5.5 million in sales royalties
and $8.3 million in manufacturing revenue from American Home Products,
For the first quarter ended Dec. 31, 1996, IPIC posted $13.7
million in Redux product revenues, of which $6.8 million was royalties on sales
and $6.8 million was manufacturing revenue. For the second quarter, IPIC reported
$17.3 million in Redux product revenues, of which $10.2 million was royalties
on sales and $7.1 million was manufacturing revenue.
4 million prescriptions
According to IPIC, more than 4 million prescriptions have been written since Redux was launched in June 1996. The company said that 75,000-80,000 prescriptions are being written every week, of which about 55,000 are new. Those figures have held steady since last November, indicating that sales have plateaued.
The company estimates that 45 million patients in the U.S. are potentially eligible for Redux, based on the package insert. The product is indicated for patients with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or above; or with a BMI of at least 27 and the presence of other risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol.
Meanwhile, two new obesity drugs are likely to come on the market in the near future. Knoll Pharmaceutical Co. (Mt. Olive, N.J.) anticipates FDA approval of Meridia sibutramine this year, while Xenical orlistat from Roche Laboratories (Nutley, N.J.) recently received a positive FDA advisory panel review (see Clinical Results, B11).