Drug company lowers price of controversial blood thinner Pradaxa
Boehringer Ingelheim has announced it is reducing the cost of its oral blood thinner, Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate), in the UK by 13 percent, a move that the company hopes will encourage the National Health Service (NHS) to make sure the medicine is available to all eligible patients.
Pradaxa was recently approved in the UK for the prevention of strokes and systemic embolism in adult patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF), a type of abnormal heart rhythm, with one or more risk factors. It was approved in the US in October 2010.
Pradaxa is in a class of blood thinners known as direct thrombin inhibitors. They work by directly inhibiting the enzyme thrombin. As of August 2011, less than a year after it was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 250,000 prescriptions had been written for the drug in the U.S. alone.
Pradaxa is the first new oral anticoagulant for stroke prevention in more than 50 years. It offers an alternative to warfarin, also known as Coumadin, which requires regular monitoring because of bleeding risk. Internal bleeding is a risk factor with most blood thinners, and antidotes are used to counter the bleeding. Yet, there is not an antidote for Pradaxa.
Since Pradaxa has been on the market, at least 505 bleeding events involving Pradaxa have been reported to the FDA. The European Medicines Agency, Europe’s equivalent to the FDA, noted that “a worldwide total of 256 spontaneous case reports of serious bleeding resulting in death” were associated with the drug. Yet, it remains on the market, and is gaining approval in other countries.
Source: Pharma Times
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