Novo Nordisk Korea recently boasted that its insulin product Tresiba (ingredient: insulin degludec) topped the next-generation basal insulin market, citing outpatient prescription sales data.
However, Sanofi-Aventis Korea’s Toujeo (ingredient: insulin glargine) beat Tresiba in the number of patients, industry data showed.
Tresiba ranked first in annual outpatient prescriptions last year, selling 12.37 billion won ($11.57 million), according to U-BIST data. Toujeo sold 12.32 billion won. In the first quarter this year, the Novo Nordisk therapy sold 3.87 billion won, more than 3.57 billion won sales of the Sanofi-Aventis drug.
However, more patients received prescriptions of Toujeo, considering the unit of the product and price.
The price of Tresiba and Toujeo was 16,876 won and 19,285 won per pen, respectively, last year. Based on U-BIST data, Tresiba sold 733,212 units, and Toujeo, 639,110 units.
Although the two have a once-daily dosage regimen, Tresiba’s insulin per pen is 300 IU (International Unit) and that of Toujeo, 450 IU.
Thus, Tresiba were injected for 7.33 million times last year (the number of used pens multiplied by 10), and Toujeo, 9.58 million times (the number of employed pens multiplied by 15).
Assuming that patients kept the once-daily dosage without changing or discontinuing the drug, the number of Tresiba-using patients stood at 20,088 (the number of uses divided by 365 days), and that of Toujeo-treated patients, 26,264. About 6,100 more patients were treated with Toujeo.
If applying the same calculation to the first-quarter data this year, the number of Tresiba injections was smaller at 2.29 million than Toujeo’s 2.78 million.
In recent years, Tresiba’s sales growth was faster than that of Toujeo. After launch in December 2015, Tresiba’s outpatient prescriptions jumped 73 percent year-on-year to 12.37 billion won in 2017 from 7.14 billion won a year earlier. During the same period, Tuojeo’s prescriptions went up 46 percent to 12.32 billion won from 8.45 billion won.
However, IQVIA data showed that Toujeo’s revenue was larger at 20.34 billion won last year than Tresiba’s 18.79 billion won.
Both of the two companies emphasize that their products have a low nighttime hypoglycemic risk and long half-life, compared to Lantus.
Tresiba showed that it reduced the risk of nighttime hypoglycemia by 43 percent, compared to Lantus. During the period of checking long-term safety, the risk went down by 53 percent.
Toujeo showed that its blood sugar control effect was similar to other basal insulins such as insulin detemir or insulin degludec, with a 25 percent lower hypoglycemia experience rate and a 48 percent lower risk of serious hypoglycemia, according to Real-World Data (RWD).
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