Express Scripts excluding Ajovy from 2019 coverage affects the drug’s future prospects, says GlobalData

Teva could breathe a sigh of relief when the FDA gave their migraine drug, Ajovy (fremanezumab), the nod in late September but they have been dealt a blow as Express Scripts have excluded the drug from their 2019 formulary, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

A report by GlobalData, PharmaPoint – Migraine, states that the migraine market is expected to experience a period of significant growth over the next ten years; in large, this growth is forecast as a result of the launch of four monoclonal antibodies (Amgen’s erenumab, Eli Lilly’s galcanezumab, Teva’s fremanezumab, and Alder’s eptinezumab) over the course of 2018 and 2019.

IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION: ‘Global Growth of the Migraine Market (2016-2026)’

Rahael Maladwala, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, commented, “All of these drugs are from a class that is expected to meet a significant unmet need in the market, indeed, initial feedback from this class of drugs has been overwhelmingly positive from patients and physicians.

“The similarity between products, in terms of both efficacy and safety, and the closeness to launch, had set up an interesting battle for supremacy between Amgen, Eli Lilly, and Teva, however, the lack of coverage by Express Scripts – which provides insurance coverage to 25 million Americans – has handicapped Teva considerably, leaving Amgen and Eli Lilly fighting for the top spot.

“Things are seemingly going from bad to worse at Teva, who have experienced a bad few years after the disastrous buy out of Allergan’s generics unit. Ajovy, and the other CGRP monoclonal antibodies, were priced at $6,900/year in the US, slightly below analyst expectations, in a move that was designed to get payers on side. However, it seems that, despite working for Amgen and Eli Lilly, Express Scripts were not willing to take the risk on Ajovy, after a few manufacturing problems earlier in the year.”

This move is likely to see Ajovy’s forecast sales reeled back in, from potential blockbuster status to a more conservative estimate. Teva must now hope that other pharmacy benefit managers do not take on the same view as Express Scripts; as further exclusions will continue to dent future prospects of Ajovy.


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