Lilly Korea’s diabetes drug Trulicity grabbed the largest market share in Korea, ahead of archrival Novo Nordisk and their blockbuster diabetes drug Victoza, amid heated competition and pricing pressures in the diabetes market.
Lilly Korea said Tuesday its type-2 diabetes treatment Trulicity ranked first in the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) market with an 85 percent market share in the second quarter and 40 billion won ($35 million) in first half-year sales, according to IMS Health data.
Lilly’s sales growth has paralleled the growth of the domestic GLP-1 market, the company said, which saw a 370 percent increase from last year and an increase in prescriptions from 600 million won to 2.9 billion won, the company said.
“The reason [Lilly’s Trulicity] achieved market dominance is the vast amount of clinical trials, the convenience of the injection and the safety levels that removed barriers previously found in other injections,” a Lilly Korea official said.
The weekly injection reduces the burden of drug administering and the risk of hypoglycemia, a potential disadvantage of injectable insulin, the company said.
The Korean offshoot of Eli Lilly and Company also said the drug showed competitiveness in the entire injectable insulin and GLP-1 market, obtaining around 11 percent market share since its launch a year ago.
Trulicity (ingredient: dulaglutide) is a long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonist administered once a week. The drug demonstrated safety and lower blood glucose levels in each step of treatment ranging from monotherapy to insulin combination therapy in type 2 diabetes patients, the company said.
While Lilly Korea has brought forth good news in the domestic market, Novo Nordisk Korea still poses a challenge to the former as it does in the U.S. market.
“[Trulicity does have more market share] but you have to consider that Victoza has not gained insurance coverage yet,” said a Novo Nordisk Korea official. “The difference between Trulicity and Victoza is insurance coverage. Once Victoza obtains it, we do expect the market to change.”
The two companies have been locked in fierce competition to gain market dominance in the GLP-1 market. Novo Nordisk Korea thinks insurance coverage will change its position in the market.
Although Lilly Korea declined to comment on a competitor’s drug and their insurance coverage, it believes Trulicity will withstand market competition. “We don’t think insurance coverage is the critical factor for market share,” the Lilly Korea official added. “Trulicity has proven its effectiveness, convenience, and safety in clinical trials.”
Lilly Korea has remained ahead with its diabetes drug despite Novo Nordisk bringing some more challenging news abroad, industry watchers said. Novo recently announced results from its head-to-head clinical trial showdown that showed its new GLP-1 drug semaglutide apparently lowered blood sugar levels and doubled weight loss than Lilly’s Trulicity.
Lilly Korea also remains on top of the domestic market with industry experts keeping tabs on whether Novo’s new drug will gain approval in the U.S.
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