Blood-Thinner Blues: Sales, Prices of Branded, Generic Lovenox Waning

In 2009, French company Sanofi S.A.'s anticoagulant Lovenox (enoxaparin sodium) was the top-selling hospital medicine in the U.S. with sales of $2.7 billion.
But with the introduction of generic versions of the drug starting in 2010, the drug’s fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. A highly competitive market with multiple players has dragged down product prices and sales, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Elizabeth Krutoholow told me. 

Sales of Lovenox are down on the branded side due to generics and lower pricing, she said. In addition, branded blood thinners in a different class—the factor Xa class—such as Janssen’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s Eliquis (apixiban) have been more popular because they are safer, she said. Sales of generic Lovenox also face market challenges. An uptick in generic approvals has created more competition, dragging prices and sales, Krutoholow said.

Momenta First on Market

Momenta Pharmaceuticals’s generic was the first generic version of the top-selling anticoagulant on the market. Partnering with Sandoz, the generics arm of pharmaceutical giant Novartis SA, Momenta introduced the generic in July 2010.  

Momenta’s sales of its generic Lovenox product have been declining as additional generics eneterd the market and sales of the generic aren’t expected to contribute significantly to the company’s bottom line, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Elizabeth Krutoholow.

Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc. also market generic versions of enoxaparin. And even though Amphastar’s generic, which it started marketing in January 2012, is the company’s largest product by net revenues, those product revenues have been on the decline. In 2014, Amphastar netted $107.5 million from generic Lovenox sales, but that number fell to $84.5 million in 2015, and declined further to $59.3 million in 2016, the company said.

Sanofi markets an authorized generic enoxaparin product through its subsidiary, Winthrop, and through Fresenius Kabi USA. Authorized generics are generic drug products introduced by branded companies, either directly or through partnering arrangements with other generic companies.

Meanwhile, Momenta is suing Amphastar over its generic, claiming the product infringes a patent covering manufacturing quality control processes for producing batches of generic enoxaparin.

Read my full story on the Momenta suit here.

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