REUTERS, Apr 21: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd launched its version of GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma inhaler Advair on Thursday and, in an unusual move, also introduced the authorized generic of its own drug.
Teva won U.S. approval to market its copy of GSK’s best-selling Advair nearly three months back. While Teva’s AirDuo contains the same two active ingredients as Advair, fluticasone propionate and salmeterol, it delivers a lower dose of salmeterol.
AirDuo also uses Teva’s RespiClick inhaler rather than copy of GSK’s device.
Teva’s branded inhaler will cost wholesalers or direct purchasers US$285, while the generic version will cost US$90, company spokeswoman Michelle Larkin told Reuters.
The pricing of the branded drug was in line with that of its peers, Bernstein analyst Erica Kazlow said, adding Teva launching the generic drug along with the branded product was “an interesting wrinkle.”
“Teva’s willingness to use generic strategy for the product is encouraging as it relates to the company’s willingness to look at a tough reality and take appropriate action,” Kazlow said.
The Israeli drugmaker said it expects the generic version of the inhaler to outsell the branded product.
GSK’s Advair, which brought in 1.83 billion pounds (US$2.35 billion) in 2016 sales, is also widely used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, while Teva’s drug is only approved for asthma and is not directly substitutable.
Teva’s product is likely to grab some share of the asthma market, but the bigger threat to GSK will come from fully substitutable generic copies of Advair that are still pending approval.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc and Vectura Group Plc are expecting approval for their generic versions of Advair by May 10. However, Mylan NV’s generic version of Advair was rejected in March.
GSK has been preparing for the loss of Advair’s exclusivity for the past two years, but the potential launch of generics will still be a blow since the medicine is highly profitable and has sold more than US$1 billion annually since 2001.
GSK did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Savio D’Souza)