The wait wasn't pretty, but the final result was. Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration approved Novo Nordisk's
Better late than never? Maybe not.
Victoza is in the same class as Amylin Pharmaceuticals'
Needless to say, Novo Nordisk is trying its best to hit the ground running with a launch within weeks, but that may not be enough. Doctors who know that once-weekly Byetta could be just a few months off probably will be less likely to switch patients from twice-daily Byetta to once-daily Victoza now.
Even if once-weekly Byetta gets delayed, Novo Nordisk may have trouble getting new patients onto Victoza. The label says the drug shouldn't be used as a first line treatment, probably because of the thyroid cancer seen in studies done in rats. Twice-daily Byetta, on the other hand, is approved as a first-line treatment. While I'm not convinced that many doctors would prescribe Byetta before trying oral medications developed by Merck
At this point, Novo Nordisk's best chance at a victory for Victoza is if once-weekly Byetta gets hung up at the FDA. Or better yet, hung out to dry.
Timing is everything. Except when it's not, says Rex Moore.