Commercial Brand & Marketing Pfizer's blockbuster Xeljanz fails safety study

Pfizer’s blockbuster Xeljanz fails safety study

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Based on a post-marketing safety study of Xeljanz (tofacitinib) which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the drug-induced a higher rate of heart attacks and cancer than a TNF inhibitor in patients aged over 50.

This study was done as an ORAL investigation of more than 4300 subjects. It is a big setback for Pfizer’s flagship immunology brand, which brought in sales of more than $ 1.7 billion in 2020.

Due to the controversial status of Xeljanz, Abbvie’s Rinvoq will likely get a boost after it already saw rapid growth in 2020, making $450 million in the first three quarters, including $215 million in the third quarter alone.

So far, Rinvoq is only approved for use in RA but is filed for ankylosing spondylitis and also under experimentation for several other inflammatory conditions including ulcerative colitis and psoriatic arthritis.

Based on the outcome of the ORAL Surveillance, it is suggested by some analysts that this could extend to other drugs in the JAK class and encourage greater use of TNF blockers.

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