Merck $MRK scored two new drug OKs in HIV, offering a pair of antiretroviral therapies to patients. But they’re unlikely to offer much of a challenge to either the market leader, Gilead, or its heavyweight rivals at ViiV.
Merck’s Delstrigo will soon hit the market with its combo of doravirine, lamivudine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. That drug, though, also comes with a boxed warning regarding post-treatment acute exacerbation of hepatitis B infections. Pifeltro, meanwhile, is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor which will be prescribed as part of other combination therapies available to the HIV community.
Merck has a significant runner-up position in HIV due to Isentress sales — but it’s also seen its franchise revenue decline significantly, dropping from $1.4 billion in 2016 to $1.2 billion last year.
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