Amgen launches price war on Vectibix OK

After winning the FDA's approval for its new cancer drug Vectibix, Amgen swiftly pegged the price of the new drug at a 20 percent discount on Erbitux, which works in much the same way. Analysts immediately seized on the move as an indication that the biopharma industry is becoming increasingly sensitive to criticisms that new cancer therapies are priced at huge premiums for drug developers. But even at the discount, analysts note, Vectibix will still cost more than $100,000 a year. Most patients, though, are only likely to survive a few months. Vectibix was approved as a therapy of last resort for colorectal cancer victims.

The pricing move was another bout of bad news for ImClone, which makes Erbitux. It already has a shareholder revolt on its hands and the news of the discounted competition took a bite out of its share price. Analysts estimate that Vectibix is likely to claim annual sales ranging from $500 million to $2 billion.

- read the article on Vectibix from The New York Times

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