Merck diabetes drug should win US approval

Mon, 16 Oct 2006
Merck’s groundbreaking new diabetes drug, Januvia, may be approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as early as next Monday.

Januvia is being eagerly awaited by the diabetes world, as it the first in a new class of diabetes drugs. Known as DPP-IV inhibitors, the drugs aid the body in insulin production.

Merck are relying on Januvia for major sales, with over $1bn forecast to flood in annually. However, Januvia is not likely to dominate the market for long. A similar drug produced by rival firm Novartis, known as Galvus, is expected to be approved next month.

Both drugs will steal a share of the oral diabetes drugs market, likely impacting on sales of Avandia (GlaxoSmithKline) and Actos (Eli Lilly and Takeda.) The new drugs will also impact on sales of new diabetes drug Byetta (Eli Lilly and Amylin.)

The oral diabetes drug market, which serves to increase diabetic patient’s abilities to absorb insulin and regulate blood sugar, is a multi-billion dollar industry. The new class of inhibitors will clash with, and perhaps replace, many of the current market leaders. How the new drugs will influence the health of diabetic people, and the healthcare system, remains to be seen.
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