The report was issued by EvaluatePharma which looks at the performance of pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The prediction is that blood thinners (anticoagulants) will reach sales of $15.3 in five years, nearly double the sales of 2012.
While pharmaceuticals are expected to have healthy growth at 3.8 percent worldwide every year, blood thinners are predicted to have a jump of 11.5 percent a year.
Map of atrial fibrillation hospitalization rates.
Consider the newer anticoagulants in this group – Eliquis (Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer), Xarelto (Bayer, Johnson & Johnson) and Pradaxa (Boehringer-Ingelheim). They are the new generation and alternative to the industry standard warfarin (Coumadin).
But is it an improvement?
Although warfarin has been the go-to anticoagulant for 50 years, it does require regular monitoring and adjustment to the dosage. The good news with warfarin is there is an antidote to stop the bleeding in case of a trauma. An injection of vitamin K will cause blood to coagulate again when someone is bleeding uncontrollably. The same is not true for the new generation of blood thinners.
While Pradaxa does not require regular blood monitoring, that is not an adequate tradeoff for death due to hemorrhage.
The website, Adverse Events, which monitors complications collected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has identified 19,359 serious complications including 18,509 which listed Pradaxa as the suspected cause. Adverse events included hemorrhaging, dyspepsia (abdominal pain, impaired digestion) and gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.
The data includes 6,879 hospitalizations and 2,081 deaths. That number is added to the 500 deaths already attributed to Pradaxa in its short time on the market.
Despite that, the FDA is jumping on the Pradaxa bandwagon and is poised to increase the indications for the use of Pradaxa. Approved to treat non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF), Pradaxa may soon receive FDA approval for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
The rosy predictions for increased use takes into consideration a new study that forecasts the number of Americans with atrial fibrillation (AF) is expected to more than double over the next 16 years. The study from Harvard Medical School predicts the five millions with AF in 2010 will grow to 12 million by 2030 as America ages. About 25% of Americans over 40 have had AF at one time in their lifetime.
The rise in AF is expected to raise 4.6 percent every year. It’s estimated about 15 percent of strokes result from AF.
Oh, by the way, that study from Harvard received funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer. The lead researcher is a consultant for many companies including BMS.