Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) has moved one step closer to approval of a drug that will improve options in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. An advisory panel specializing in arthritis medication voted 8-2 in favor of the drug stating that it’s benefits outweighed its potential risks. The support of the committee brings the company one step closer to approval of the drug, which could be a boon to the company’s future sales.
The medication, known as tofacitinib, is an oral drug in contrast to many of the other rheumatoid arthritis drugs on the market which tend to be injectable. The easier use of transmission would certainly make the drug more popular among patients requiring it. Oral intake is also a safer method for drug delivery negating some infection risk.
The two dissenting votes on the committee cited worries that the drug might be linked with higher rates of cancer as it is increased in dosage. The dissenters have advised more extensive trials be done in order to make sure the drug is effective.
Pfizer will be hoping for swift approval of the medications it seeks to fill the whole left by its loss of the exclusive patent on Lipitor, the cholesterol reducing medication. The main alternative to the potential medication, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) Humira, is an injectable drug and generated $2 billion for that company in the first quarter. Pfizer will want to see its oral solution take much of the market away from Abbott in order to allow them as big an advantage as possible.
Over 1 million American suffer from the ilness and many of those do not find current treatments helpful in their experience of the illness. Pfizer’s drug which acts differently than many of the others may offfer a cure to those suffering from the disease without treatment.
Oral delivery systems are accessible to a wider range of patients and tofacitinib would possibly widen the market for rheumatoid arthritis treatments. Approval awaits the drug and today’s announcement of recommendation will help swiften the process.
In other drug approval news Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) are looking for approval for an alternative use of their Xarelto product, an anti clotting drug. It is has received approval for two conditions so far. It is available to treat risk of clots after hip and knee replacement surgery and reducing stroke risk in patients presenting with certain types irregular heart beats. Approval is now being sought to use the drug to treat venous thromboembolism.