Medicine cost

As someone who spends a fair bit of time thinking about and dealing with medications and treatments, I like to think I know a little about the subject.  And, to be honest, I was getting a little concerned.  It seemed like there was a real lack of innovative therapies coming to market.

Conducting analysis of new treatments up for FDA approval in 2010 has made me more optimistic.

One of the first events of the year is the coming of Shire’s Vpriv, a new treatment for Gaucher’s.  Considering that the current therapy, Cerezyme, has gone into production deficits, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Then was the delayed approval of Bydureon, a once weekly form of Byetta.  A glp-1 analogue, this treatment is an innovation in the treatment of diabetes and helps people have better treatment outcomes.

On May 1rst, Provenge, perhaps the first of a new type of treatment, is up for FDA voting and I believe is very likely to make it.  It is an innovative treatment that harvests immune cells from your body and trains them to attack cancer related markets.  While complicated, it offers hope and possibly better treatment.  Its approval could open the door for the field of cancer related vaccine style treatments.

Then later comes Prolia.  Prolia is an innovative monoclonal antibody that targets RANKL.  It prevents osteoclasts from breaking down bone.  It has decent efficacy for bone health in older women, and, most importantly, can be given as an under the skin injection, possibly just once every 6 months.  That’s a lot better than daily pill taking.

Benlysta, perhaps the first treatment for lupus in decades, is up for approval later on.  While it is exciting to have innovation, the efficacy data from this treatment are not overwhelming.

To end the year, we have not one, not two, but three(!) treatments for obesity going up to bat.  Some are promising yet a tad scary, like the super effective Qnexa that contains an ingredient from the disasterous phen-fen.  (That ingredient is very likely generally safe).  Then there is the less effective Contrave and the yet unnamed lorcaserin.

This is extremely exciting.  There has been very little innovation in the field of drug treatment for obesity yet three treatments are coming up for FDA approval in just one year.  We haven’t looked at future anticipated drug approvals, but hopefully this positive momentum will continue.

And those are just from some the drugs we’ve looked at.  Some exciting stuff going on in 2010 and pharmacological innovation.