MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) announced Tuesday that it would be presenting at the 26th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference at the New York Palace Hotel in New York. The biopharmaceutical company will present on December 2 at 3:00 p.m. ET. You can access the live webcast of MannKind’s presentation using this link.
Will doctors prescribe Afrezza?
MannKind is gearing up to launch its insulin drug Afrezza in the U.S. market in Q1, 2015. It has partnered with Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) (EPA:SAN) to market Afrezza worldwide. The biggest concern over Afrezza is whether doctors would prescribe MannKind’s inhaled insulin, especially when there are several strings attached. It can’t be prescribed to patients with lung diseases. FDA has asked the California-based company to conduct three more studies – dosing, long-term safety, and pediatric. MannKind plans to start these studies after launching the drug.
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However, Brian Orelli of The Motley Fool says that the even bigger cause of worry for MannKind is whether Sanofi can get a high price for Afrezza from insurers. The French drugmaker has been experiencing pricing pressure on its own diabetes drug Lantus due to aggressive discounting by rivals. Novo Nordisk has been discounting its Lavamir to gain market share.
Discounting Afrezza will be a big blow to MannKind
If MannKind has to discount Afrezza, it will be a big blow to the company because its the drug-device combination is much more expensive. Afrezza won’t compete directly with Lantus, which will soon go off patent. That’s because MannKind’s drug is a mealtime insulin, while Lantus is a basal insulin. But there are other drugmakers who could trigger a price war with Afrezza.
Novo Nordisk’s Novolog and Eli Lilly’s Humalog are likely Afrezza competitors. If any of the two companies starts a pricing war to grab market share, others will have to follow. Meanwhile, insurers have been fighting with pharmaceutical companies over drug prices. When cheaper options are available, they are unlikely to cover Afrezza if it is priced at a premium.