Strong Growth for Boniva, ESAs in EU Under Pricing Pressure
Roche reported strong growth for its bisphosphonate Boniva during the first half of the year as the drug continues to gain market share despite competition from generic Fosamax.
Boniva (ibandronate sodium) sales increased 43 percent to $305 million for the first six months of this year. The growth comes as Merck lost exclusivity for its bisphosphonate Fosamax (alendronate sodium), Roche Pharmaceuticals division CEO William Burns said during the firm’s earnings call.
The company recorded $190 million in sales for the drug outside the U.S., primarily in Europe and excluding Japan, during the first half of 2008, an increase of 68 percent.
Fortunes were reversed for Roche’s erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) NeoRecormon (epoetin beta). Sales fell 10 percent to $661 million in Europe and certain other markets, the company said.
“This is principally a decline in price with volumes holding remarkably well,” Burns said. “[There are] a number of biosimilars now present in some of the key European markets, most notably Germany.”