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Novartis receives Rasilez approval in China

Novartis has received regulatory approval for its high blood pressure treatment Rasilez in China

Novartis has received regulatory approval for its high blood pressure treatment Rasilez (aliskiren) in China. The first-in-class direct renin inhibitor is approved for use as a treatment on its own, as well as in combination with other high blood pressure medication.

Rasilez is already approved in 80 countries and is known as Tekturna in the US.  It works by directly inhibiting the activity of renin, an enzyme produced by the kidneys that can cause blood vessels to narrow. This can then lead to high blood pressure.

"We are pleased that our continued investment in China enables us to bring treatment options to patients that address the needs of this growing market," said David Epstein, division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. "By adapting our development timelines for Rasilez we have been able to provide patients in China with timely access to this novel therapy for high blood pressure."

According to Novartis, high blood pressure is the "leading preventable cause of death in China" with two million deaths attributed to the condition occurring there each year. Around 153 million adults in the country are thought to be affected by the condition currently, with 76 per cent of patients not being treated to an optimum level, according to 'Premature Deaths Attributable to Blood Pressure in China: A Prospective Cohort Study', published in The Lancet.

Speaking on the approval, Dr Yong Huo, president-elect of the Chinese Society of Cardiology, Department of Cardiology, Peking University First Hospital, said: “Modifications in lifestyle and diet have led to high blood pressure becoming a significant and growing problem in China.

"Because the disease has no apparent symptoms, awareness as well as treatment and control of the condition are very low. As a result, there is a clear need for innovative high blood pressure treatments in China to enable more patients to successfully manage their condition."

20th July 2010

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