Wall Street Journal: Lunesta off to strong start

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Sepracor's Lunesta is exceeding early projections, selling briskly and eroding Ambien's market share in the sleeping pill category, according to an article appearing in today's Wall Street Journal.
Analysts told the Journal that Lunesta is off to one of the fastest prescription starts on record.
J.P. Morgan Chase analyst Corey Davis told the newspaper, that in the seven days through May 9, Lunesta had 42,508 new prescriptions, giving it a 9.8 percent share of new insomnia-drug prescriptions. In the same period, Sanofi-Aventis' Ambien registered 250,461 new prescriptions, or a 61 percent share, down from nearly 70 percent prior to Lunesta's launch, the article said.
Lunesta entered the market on April 4 and between then and May 9 totaled about 150,000 prescriptions – exceeding tallies of other widely used drugs in the same number of days after their launches, including Lipitor and Cialis.
Gregg Gilbert, an analyst at Merrill Lynch said in the Journal report that Lunesta's prescription sales figures, and a strong appetite for the drug, caused him to raise his sales estimates yesterday. Gilbert said he expected Lunesta will account for 18 percent of total sleep-drug prescriptions by 2009, up from a prior estimate of 15 .5 percent.
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