From the Fibromyalgia (FMS) Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Pfizer, the manufacturers of Lyrica, the first fibromyalgia drug to be approved by the American Food & Drugs Associations (FDA), have decided to end human testing on a late-stage experimental drug, esreboxetine, which may have improved the cognitive function of patients with fibromyalgia. A second drug also to be withdrawn from the testing programme is associated with general anxiety problems. Both of these conditions are among the many symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The company announced it would stop further testing on these experimental primary care medications, now in the late stages of development, as they were other drugs available to treat these conditions.
The decision follows a move to ‘shift funding’ to alternative experimental drugs that have a greater profile.
The Wall Street Journal website, (http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/02/24/pfizer-drops-two-drugs-from-late-stage-pipeline/trackback/) overnight, on February 24, 2009, announced Pfizer Drops Two Drugs from Late-Stage Pipeline.
Sarah Rubenstein wrote two drugs in Pfizer’s late-stage pipeline are biting the dust.
The company said today it is ending development of esreboxetine, for fibromyalgia, and a drug known as PD 332,334, for generalized anxiety disorder.
In announcing the decision, Pfizer made a between-the-lines reference to the increasing pressure from insurers and regulators on the drug industry to pour research resources into products that make a real difference for people’s health rather than just add on to crowded categories. The economic-stimulus bill, for instance, offers up $1.1 billion for research comparing drugs and other treatments to each other.
Based on the data on the two drugs, “along with current market dynamics,” Pfizer said, “it was considered unlikely that either compound would provide meaningful benefit to patients beyond the current standard of care.” It added that safety was not the issue.
That said, there are not a lot of drugs on the market for fibromyalgia: Pfizer’s Lyrica was the first to win approval for fibromyalgia, and Lilly’s Cymbalta got the nod too. But fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by long-standing pain, has been the subject of controversy over its legitimacy, despite being recognized as a disease by the FDA and insurers.
Pfizer said today it is still seeking approval for Lyrica for generalized anxiety disorder, despite the demise of PD 332,334. In this case, though, there is a lot out there. The Mayo Clinic lists a bunch of drugs used for the disorder, including Cymbalta and Forest Labs’ Lexapro and generic versions of Lilly’s Prozac and GlaxoSmithKline’s Paxil.
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