Glaucoma Drugs Continue to Battle for Market Share

Source: Market Scope

Two new glaucoma drugs introduced in the US in 2018 continue to battle for market share. Rhopressa, from Aerie Pharmaceuticals, got out of the gate faster than Vyzulta from Bausch Health. The growth rate for both drugs slowed in the first quarter of 2019, which is normal after a product launch, according to a Market Scope news release.

Market Scope estimates pharmaceutical companies earn $2 billion from glaucoma medications in the US after discounts and rebates. Market revenues have been flat in recent years as the market has been dominated by competition between low-cost generic medicines.

Bausch Health reported that prescription volume for Vyzulta in Q4 2018 increased 50 percent over the number of scripts written in Q3 2018, but rate of increase fell to 20 percent in Q1 2019.

Market Scope estimates that Bausch Health had sales revenue of about $18.6 million on Vyzulta in 2018. Bausch Health launched the drug in the US in December 2017. Health Canada approved the sale of Vyzulta in January 2019.

Aerie’s Rhopressa sales revenue for all of 2018 totaled $24.2 million. Aerie Pharmaceuticals launched Rhopressa in the US in May 2018. The number of Rhopressa prescriptions nearly doubled in Q4 2018 over Q3, but the number of bottles sold leveled off in Q1 2019. Aerie’s management believes that is a temporary lull produced by a combination of seasonal factors and a pullback in sales efforts as the company trained salespeople for its next new product, Rocklatan.

Aerie anticipates another revenue boost from Rocklatan, a fixed-dose combination solution of Rhopressa with latanoprost. Aerie launched Rocklatan in the US on May 1, with 60 percent of people covered by commercial insurance already covered, albeit on a non-preferred basis.

Doctors who participate in Market Scope surveys tend to prefer Vyzulta over Rhopressa as a first-line therapy, using Vyzulta as a first-line therapy in 2.4 percent of patients and Rhopressa in 0.3 percent. They preferred Rhopressa over Vyzulta as an adjunctive therapy, using Rhopressa as an adjunctive therapy in 6.9 percent of patients and Vyzulta in 3.3 percent. Adjunctive therapies account for almost 50 percent of the glaucoma medication market.

The introduction of two new compounds, the first in over two decades, and the first fixed-dose combination medicine with latanoprost in the US, may kick-start new growth in the market. Market Scope is following 21 more compounds in companies’ development pipelines and 23 new drug-delivery technologies.

Market Scope’s 2019 Glaucoma Pharmaceuticals Market Report: A Global Analysis for 2018 to 2024 was published in June.

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