Is it possible that AstraZeneca's
The approval came one day before the drug's PDUFA date, so it wasn't a shockingly early approval, like sanofi-aventis
One plausible explanation is that Astra's proposed name was rejected by the FDA. It's not uncommon to see brand names change; MannKind
If that's the case, kudos to the FDA for not holding up the approval. They can hash out an acceptable name and slap on a label soon enough.
Vandetanib is the only drug approved to treat late-stage medullary thyroid cancer, so it shouldn't have problems selling the drug, even with the burdensome side effects -- death included. There won't be many potential patients to sell it to, though, since this subtype of thyroid cancer only affects about 1,300 to 2,200 patients. And because many of those patients will end up getting surgery, the actual market is even smaller.
What the company lacks in volume, it'll make up for in price. I expect vandetanib to be priced far in excess of what Bristol-Myers Squibb
If AstraZeneca's still hunting for a name, might I suggest TreatsAFewCostALot, or Tafcal for short?
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