In 2016, Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ (VRX) gastrointestinal (or GI) drugs Xifaxan, Uceris, Apris, and Relistor reported solid year-over-year (or YoY) growth in prescriptions, of around 18%, 6%, 4%, and 1%, respectively.
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Relistor growth trends
Since the launch of the oral version of Relistor in 4Q16, the drug has witnessed a 13% rise in total prescriptions. More than 80% of patients covered by commercial health payers have access to Relistor. Ease of use due to its oral formulation, coupled with expanded payer coverage, may boost demand for the drug in 2017. The company has also signed a binding term sheet to explore Relistor for use in oncology. Valeant competes with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Allergan (AGN), and Takeda Pharmaceutical (TKPYY).
To further boost revenue from Xifaxan and Relistor in 2017, the company has expanded its primary care sales force and added 250 more sales professionals to the team. The company also plans to educate nurses about Xifaxan, both for hepatic encephalopathy (or HE) and irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (or IBS-D) indications. Valeant is also focused on expanding the sales force for its pain segment to drive the GI franchise’s revenue growth in 2017.
If Valeant’s growth strategy for its GI franchise is successful, it could positively affect its share price and that of the PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals ETF (PJP). Valeant makes up about 2.7% of PJP’s portfolio. In the next article, we’ll explore trends for Valeant’s dermatology business in greater detail.