Hanmi Pharmaceutical's lung cancer treatment HM61713 is scheduled to be launched as Olita Tab in South Korea next month following marketing approval from the country's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The drug holds breakthrough-therapy status in the US, and Hanmi expects FDA approval in 2017.
South Korea-based Celltrion will begin selling Remsima, a biosimilar of rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, in Australia following its approval in that country. The company’s partner, Hospira, will handle marketing, distribution and sales operations for the drug.
Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai agreed to expand their marketing deal for the obesity drug Belviq, or lorcaserin. The expanded agreement gives Eisai the right to sell Belviq in all countries except New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan and Australia. In exchange, Eisai paid Arena $60 million.
The high price of innovation should be accepted because drugmakers invest great time and money to bring new treatments into the market, writes Peter J. Pitts, former FDA associate commissioner and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Generic drugs make up eight of every 10 treatments in the world because of the risk-taking research of the biopharmaceutical industry, he writes. The high prices of advanced drugs shouldn't be feared because they give hope to millions of patients, Pitts writes.