GW Pharmaceuticals Focuses on Epidiolex’s US Commercial Launch


Dec. 31 2018, Updated 9:01 a.m. ET

Rescheduling initiatives

On September 5, the US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a press release announcing the rescheduling of Epidiolex into Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act.

According to GW Pharmaceuticals’ (GWPH) fiscal 2018 fourth-quarter earnings conference call, the company’s state government affairs team has also ensured the rescheduling of Epdiolex in Washington, D.C., as well as in the 50 US states. These rescheduling efforts will enable physicians to openly prescribe the drug across the country.

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Marketing strategy

According to GW Pharmaceuticals’ earnings conference call, the company has been striving to reach out to 5,000 physicians about increasing the adoption of Epidiolex. From late August to late November, the company managed to cover 50%–60% of its total targeted physicians.

According to GW Pharmaceuticals’ earnings conference call, the company has been conducting educational broadcast and speaker programs and developing resources to educate healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers about the efficacy of Epidiolex. The company is also making its presence felt in medical congresses, academic centers, and epilepsy centers in the United States.

The company had completed 46 local sponsorship events through its Patient Advocacy Organization by November 1, and it was planning 110 events for the last two months of 2018.

Demand trends

According to the company’s earnings conference call, the initial prescribers for Epidiolex are pediatric epileptologists and pediatric neurologists, as this is a weight-based drug, and pediatric specialists are more adept at dose titrations. 

The company expects pediatric patients suffering from seizures due to Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome to be the initial adopters of Epidiolex. The company expects adult epileptologists to be late adopters, as these physicians aren’t used to drug titrations.

In the next article, we’ll discuss label expansion initiatives for Epidiolex in greater detail.



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