New indication could see Pfizer expand Lyrica ads
Pfizer's ability to reach what may be an untapped population of people suffering from fibromyalgia got a boost last week when Lyrica became the first FDA-approved therapy for the condition.
which the FDA says affects about 3 to 6 million people in the
Pfizer declined to comment about its advertising plans. "There are several things we're considering, but we haven’t made any firm decisions at this point," a spokesman told MM&M.
Driving awareness of the condition, whose symptoms can include debilitating pain, sleep problems, stiffness and fatigue, is sure to be a key theme.
"Demand in fibromyalgia is something that will be more patient-driven than physician-driven," observed Barbara Ryan, an analyst with Deutsche Bank. "The ability to advertise directly to consumers, at least in this particular indication, would be important."
the FDA says there is no test to confirm a diagnosis, clear diagnostic criteria
for fibromyalgia were established in 1990 by the
“The issue is that a lot of physicians and patients themselves don’t actually know about those diagnostic criteria,” the Pfizer spokesman said. “Right now it’s been something that’s been discussed and taught about in the specialist communities but not necessarily in the broader primary care communities.”
Studies have shown that some patients have decreased pain after taking Lyrica (pregabalin), but the mechanism by which the drug produces such an effect is unknown.
Pfizer plans to launch the indication to physicians in the third quarter but would not reveal its DTC timeline. The Lyrica consumer ad account resides with Kaplan Thaler, while Euro RSCG Life LM&P handles professional. Both declined to comment.
consumers won’t come cheap. In 2006, Lyrica’s first full year on the
Meanwhile, analysts are having difficulty sizing the market the new indication may open up, because they can’t gauge the extent to which existing fibromyalgia patients already were being treated with products like Lyrica that have pain indications, or how much of Lyrica’s use had been for this population. Thus far doctors have been treating it with a mixture of painkillers and antidepressants.
had $1.2 billion in 2006 sales. Prudential analysts forecast $1.6 billion in
“We are at least forecasting [Lyrica] will have strong sales growth over the next several years in the 20-40% range,” said Ryan, who had anticipated the new indication and so had already been factoring it into estimates. “We’ll have to watch the data.”