Amgen deploys up to 1,000 reps on Prolia approval

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Amgen has deployed “500 to 1,000” reps in support of Prolia (denosumab), a biologic osteoporosis treatment that received FDA approval on June 1. The drug was approved in the European Union on May 28.   

Sales reps “across [Amgen's] bone health, inflammation and hospital teams” will work on the drug, calling on a “large number of physicians including specialists and primary care physicians who treat postmenopausal osteoporosis,” according to Sarah Reines, an Amgen spokesperson.

In response to a question about Prolia's positioning in the market, Reines cited “a significant clinical need in the management of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, who are at a high risk for fracture.”

Reines said data has shown that approximately 50 percent of postmenopausal osteoporosis patients discontinue oral bisphosphonate therapy – such as Merck's Fosamax, Warner Chilcott's Actonel, and Roche/Genentech's Boniva – within the first year. “Among patients who discontinue these treatments, many do so because of side effects, including tolerance,” Reines said. GSW Worldwide is handling the professional account out of its Columbus, Ohio headquarters.    

A twice-yearly injection, Prolia offers “robust fracture reduction at the spine, hip and other sites,” said Reines. For consumers, Amgen will “consider various platforms to educate our patients on both the condition and the product,” according to Reines. To preview the brand's font and colors, check out the Prolia.com placeholder site. Draftfcb in New York has the consumer account. 

Until recently, Prolia was known primarily by its shortened generic name, Dmab. Since at least 2008, analysts have predicted blockbuster sales – or sales exceeding $1 billion annually – for Prolia. The drug costs $825 per 60 mg injection, and Amgen announced a ProliaPlus program in conjunction with the drug's approval, which will help interested parties sort out product insurance coverage, and provide financial assistance programs.

As part of the ProliaPlus service, Amgen will also “remind patients and providers about when the patient's next dose is due, thus helping to support patient adherence,” according to a company statement.

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