J and J execs have plenty to brag about in pharma. Why downplay Xarelto, Zytiga woes.
Johnson and Johnsons pharma unit is still churning out growth, partly because of out performing new launches like cancer med Darzalex. But execs had to explain away some disappointing results for two of its older blockbusters. Prostate cancer med Zytiga, which executives last year predicted wouldnt face 2018 generic competition, is losing ground to cheap copycats, while growth engine Xarelto faces a steamrolling rival in Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibbs Eliquis. U.S. Zytiga sales slipped 59% in the second quarter to 198 million dollars thanks to an onslaught of generics, while anticoagulant Xarelto posted a 19% decrease in stateside sales to 549 million dollars. On Tuesday’s conference call, Vice Chairman Joaquin Duato said several factors hurt Xarelto’s performance in the second quarter. More of Xarelto's scripts came from Medicare Part D patients in Q2 of this year compared with last, according to J&J's earnings presentation. And J&J was on the hook for a bigger share of patient costs in Medicare Part D’s donut hole. Congress implemented the donut hole change last year, forcing drugmakers to pay more to move patients out of the coverage gap. Once J&J gets a few quarters ahead of those changes, Xarelto should start turning in more impressive growth percentages, Duato said. How? J&J plans to grow Xarelto’s market share and volume in existing uses, plus focus on launches in new indications, Duato said, though he didn't specify exactly how it'll pump up that volume.