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Two Peas in a Pharma Pod: Pfizer Inc (PFE), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMY)

Two other blood thinners, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa and Xarelto from Bayer and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) , were also tested against warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation. Xarelto failed to beat warfarin. Data from the Pradaxa trial suggest the drug is superior to warfarin, but it was an open label trial — patients knew which drug they were getting — which limits the usefulness of the comparison.

Not if but when
Until something better comes along, it looks like Eliquis should be able to take most of the atrial fibrillation market. The speed of uptake is the only question at this point.

With such outstanding data, you’d think it would be relatively instantaneous, but doctors can be slow to change. If they’ve got a patient on a stable dose of warfarin, don’t be surprised if the doctor doesn’t just continue with what’s working. Much of the initial sales by Pfizer and Bristol-Meyers will likely come from patients new to treatment. How quickly it gets to blockbuster status will be determined by whether they can convince doctors to convert over current warfarin patients.

Expanding into one of the other indications that blood thinners are used for would also help speed sales along. In Europe, Eliquis is approved for preventing venous thromboembolism after hip or knee replacement. The drug was shown to be superior to Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY)‘s Lovenox without increasing bleeding. More recently, the companies published phase 3 data showing that extended treatment with Eliquis after surgery substantially reduced the risk of blood clots and death compared to placebo without increasing the rate of bleeding.

The article Two Peas in a Pharma Pod originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Brian Orelli.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson.

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