Shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals declined following Senator Bernie Sanders’ criticism of the high price of the firm’s drug Iclusig (ponatinib) on Twitter.
Ariad said, “our pricing reflects our significant investment in R&D, our commitment to the very small, ultra orphan cancer patient populations that we serve and the associated risk with research and development.”
The Senator meant well we know. However, it looks as if he missed looking at Ariad’s history of accomplishments and its financial struggle towards creating its breakthrough drugs, especially Iclusig® (ponatinib), which is currently the only approved drug for Ariad, and the one that’s already saving lives of condemned patients.
By the way, the FDA has designated all Ariad’s products breakthroughs. Iclusig®, which was created and developed by Ariad, is approved for specific types of cancers, including T315I-positive chronic phase, accelerated phase, or blast phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML); T315I-positive Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) who cannot receive any other tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) medicines.
Here is Some Stock History
After the Iclusig® approval, the stock rallied, but some critics who learned that one of the drug’s adverse effects increases the risk of blood clotting condemned the drug, which led to the firm’s stock to take a dive. As a matter of fact, the stock crashed when the drug was withdrawn from the market.
It did not take long, though, for the FDA to reinstate the drug on the market after confirming that its benefit outweighs the risk of its side effects. That was great, but not enough for investors to appreciate Ariad, which led to the stock’s paralysis for a long period of time while Iclusig was saving lives.
Recently, Japan approved Iclusig for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) resistant to previous treatments and for relapsed resistant Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL).
The Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo praised Iclusig approval, acknowledging that in Japan the CML cancer resisted tyrosine kinase drugs in large number patients. Dr. Tojo from “The Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo” said that he feels grateful to have Iclusig as a new approved treatment option.
A Second Horse, Brigatinib, is Nearing Approval
The FDA has granted brigatinib orphan designation for anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive (ALK+), c-ros 1 oncogene positive (ROS1+), or epidermal growth factor receptor positive (EGFR+) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The agency has also designated brigatinib breakthrough therapy for patients with ALK+ NSCLC resistant to crizotinib.
Phase 2 ALTA Trial whose results are meant to form the basis for its initial regulatory review for ALK + lung cancer treatment
We were there at every step in the development of both Icludig (ponatinib) and brigatinib and we feel good about the firm’s spending lots of efforts and money towards developing these products under tremendous financial stress. Ariad is working hard to bring Iclusig to many other cancers patients and, in the meantime, bring brigatinib for the ALK+ NSCLC whose cancers resists crizotinib, to the market.
As much as we love Senator Bernie Sanders’ straightforwardness and sincere intention to lower the prices of drugs, he might have missed observing how much money Ariad has spent on creating, developing and proving the superiority of brigatinib over other existing treatments in conquering cancer resistance. The Senator did not observe Ariad’s financial struggle to create its breakthrough drugs or how much the firm had to spend on research & development to be able to save condemned patients in the U.S. Europe, Japan and other countries around the world.
Again, we say, those who are sincere in lowering the prices of drugs have to sit down and review what are the causes of the tremendous increase in the prices of drugs and who exactly benefit from that increase. They will be surprised to know and we wish they would act on their knowledge.
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