Roche cuts loose Tamiflu OTC rights, handing Sanofi the keys as the pharma giant doubles down on Xofluza
Roche set out to make a better flu medicine than Tamiflu as that franchise was headed to a generic showdown. Now they’ll see just how well Xofluza stacks up against the mainstay drug after handing off over-the-counter rights in the US to Sanofi.
Sanofi $SNY says it will now step in to negotiate a deal with the FDA to steer Tamiflu into the OTC market, a role that could well involve new studies to ease passage of the drug out of doctor’s hands and into the consumer end of the market. And the French pharma giant will have first dibs over “selected” OTC markets around the world as they push ahead.
Xofluza may be the better drug as far as consumers are concerned, after demonstrating non-inferiority to Tamiflu in the speed-of-relief with a single dose against a 10-pill regimen of the now generic drug over 5 days. Payers, though, aren’t likely to care much about convenience and greater reliability on dosing, opting for a very well known brand that is getting much cheaper as knockoffs hit.
Sanofi, for its part, likes its chances in the OTC field, looking to build on what they already have.
“The US market is the largest OTC market in the world and a successful switch of Tamiflu to OTC would support our global cough and cold strategy by expanding into flu with a sustainable point of difference in the market,” said Alan Main, executive vice president of Sanofi’s consumer healthcare.