Sandoz Launches Generic Combigan Drops
The newly launched maleate ophthalmic solution, which goes by the generic name of brimonidine tartrate/timolol, be sold by Sandoz in the dosing strengths 0.2%/0.5%.
According to US reports, the Basel, Switzerland-based generics maker plans to offer the drug at a 10% discount off the originator’s wholesale acquisition price. This will be the second patent-free competitor for Combigan. Apotex launched its own version in January this year, shortly before its patents lapsed.
“Fixed combinations of medicines to treat ocular hypertension can offer patients enhanced convenience, improved adherence, reduced exposure to preservatives, and cost savings,” said Sandoz president Keren Haruvi. Sandoz, Haruvi said, launched “this important generic eye treatment in-house to expand patient access to high-quality, more affordable eye care for millions of US patients.”
The Novartis subsidiary sees itself as a leading provider of ophthalmic medicines in the US, offering more than 36 product families for the treatment of a wide range of eye diseases. These include Timoptic and Alphagan P, the two components used in Combigan. With the launch of the bimonidine tartrate/timolol maleate drops, Sandoz said it will retain its number one position in that market.
Novartis is in the midst of a strategic review to decide whether or not to spin off its generics franchise. Sandoz reportedly has generated considerable interest from potential buyers. The parent company, also Basel-based, is giving itself until mid-2002 to decide.
In the run-up to the decision, Sandoz continues to launch new products, including a generic version of Bristol Myers Squibb’s top-selling multiple myeloma therapy Revlimid, which it rolled out in 19 European countries in February. In March, the company agreed to acquire British drug delivery device developer Coalesce Product Development, a specialist in generic respiratory treatments.
Apart from the Sandoz sale, pharma watchers are also following plans by Novartis to reduce its work force. According to unconfirmed Swiss reports, the drugs giant could shed at least 1,000 jobs in its home market.
Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist