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Sanofi keeps Toujeo price level with Lantus in UK

French firm hoping to maintain market share with its next-gen insulin product

Sanofi desk 

Sanofi has launched its new basal insulin product Toujeo in the UK at the same price as its big-selling Lantus brand.

Toujeo is a longer-acting version of Lantus (insulin glargine), which is currently the world's best-selling diabetes drug with sales of $8bn last year - but is facing heightened pressure from rival insulin brands as well as biosimilar competition after losing patent protection earlier this year.

A spokeswoman for Sanofi told PMLiVE that the company had priced Toujeo "at the same price-per-day as Lantus so it has a budget neutral impact for the NHS." 

"We want to ensure cost is not a prohibitive factor that prevents access to Toujeo for adults who would benefit from this new insulin," she added.

In England, data from HSCIC shows that in 2014 Lantus was one of the biggest sources of spend for the NHS in England in terms of medicines, with just under £73m spent on the drug.

Sanofi needs to transition patients from Lantus to Toujeo and there had been speculation the company might even price the new product at a slight discount to encourage take-up and ward off the threat of biosimilars - which have started to appear in Eastern Europe - as well as Novo Nordisk's Levemir (insulin detemir) which has been growing strongly with sales approaching $2.5bn last year

Lantus saw sales in the first half slip around 5% to €3.29bn in the first six months of 2015, with a 15% decline in the US, while Toujeo made a contribution of €20m, coming mainly from the US where it was launched at the end of March.

Biosimilar Lantus is now available in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Estonia where it has been launched at a discount of 15%-20% of the brand's price, according to Sanofi's executive vice president of commercial operations Peter Guenter.

Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim are expected to launch their Abasaglar biosimilar in the UK next month at a 15% discount to Lantus, he added following the product's approval last September.

Meanwhile, Merck & Co and Samsung Bioepis are also working on a biosimilar which is in late-stage development.

During Sanofi's second-quarter results presentation, Sanofi's recently-appointed chief executive Olivier Brandicourt said Toujeo's roll-out in Europe was being helped by "a strong and differentiated label versus Lantus".

In addition to the UK and US, Toujeo is also on the market in Germany, the Netherlands and some Nordic countries and has also been approved in Japan, Canada and Australia.

Article by
Phil Taylor

5th August 2015

From: Healthcare

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