The leukemia medicine Gleevec that is manufactured by Novartis now has a competitor. A generic variant of the medicine has been introduced by Sun Pharma on February 1, 2016, in the United States. Sun Pharma is likely to price the generic version around 30% less than the price of Gleevc, expecting to take over one-third market within the coming six-month period, according to Kal Sundaram, the Chief Executive Officer of Sun In North America.
The annual price of Gleevec or imatinib mesylate in the United States is approximately $90,000, with an expectation of Sun’s generic drug price to reach around $60,000. In 2015, $4.7 billion revenues were earned by Gleevec across the world and with the Basel-based drug’s patent expiry in the U.S.; Novartis is expecting annual sales loss of nearly $2.5 billion. Gleevec has been Novartis’ core product since 2001. Kal Sundaram revealed that the first shipment of its generic variant is being manufactured at Sun’s plants in the U.S and are likely to be available at pharmacies in 2-3 days.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved marketing exclusivity for the Generic variant for 180 days since Sun Pharma was the foremost company to file on the generic. Imatinib mesylate is a kinase inhibitor that is used in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia and other blood diseases in adults and children as well. In the United States, every year 6,600 new cases of chronic myeloid leukaemia are detected and 1,140 patients die every year due to the disease.
“I anticipate that the healthcare system in the country will have savings in the order of 30 percent. I would anticipate the insurance companies to be taking an active role”, said Sundaram. He added that the sales of the generic version during the initial year will be dependent on the doctors’ prescription of either Gleevec or the economical version.