The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved on Friday Eliquis, a drug for anticlotting that had been anticipated by cardiologists and is thought to be a blockbuster approval for Bristol-Myers Squibb, which will manufacture the drug and Pfizer, which will market the drug.
Eliquis was approved by the FDA for use in reducing the risk of dangerous blood clots and stroke in people who have arterial fibrillation, a heart arrhythmia that is common and afflicts million in the U.S.
The drug, also referred to as apixaban, has become the third medicine for anticlotting approved over the last few years and the companies will aggressively market their products as a alternative to warfarin, which is an older medicine that requires more intense monitoring. Warfarin is known by Coumadin its brand name.
One doctor said that now the marketing pitches will start and that cardiologists would have to figure out the differences amongst Eliquis and the other competitors that are already being sold: Xarelto by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson and Pradaxa by Boehringer Ingelheim.
Some experts have said that Eliquis gives the best balance of benefits from the drug and its risks. However, due to the fact no clinical trials have taken place to compare the three different drugs it is difficult to figure out which of the three is the preferred one, said one cardiologist.
Pfizer and Bristol-Myers released a short statement on Friday that said they were happy with the FDA approval. In a statement released during November that announced the approval of the drug in Europe, the two companies noted that the drug was the only one that had shown an advantage over the older drug warfarin in lowering the risk of major bleeding, dangerous blood clots, stroke and death.
Even though Eliquis and its competitors have great promise, some medical experts cautioned medical care providers to not prescribe the medications too enthusiastically.