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SSRI patients are targeted by Synthon.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Synthon Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has launched Pexeva (paroxetine mesylate), promising it will bring savings to patients under selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) therapy. Synthon is the United States division of Synthon BV, a generic drug maker.

The product--in 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-mg tablets--is for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or panic disorder and is priced 31% below Paxil from GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) and significantly below competing generics.

According to the research advisory firm Decision Resources, brand makers with products in the antidepressant class can anticipate stalled sales over the next decade with increased competition from generics.

"They [SSRIs] are the most often used drugs for treatment of major depression," notes Anathea Waitekus, an analyst with the firm.

"As a whole, that class is big and losing patent protection."

Pexeva is also the first product that Synthon has rolled out in the U.S. under a new business model that brings high-quality, branded pharmaceutical alternatives to the market at significant discounts.

A national sales team, complemented by a group of managed care professionals, is educating physicians, consumers and payers about the benefit of the drug and the potential savings it brings.

"This is great news for those patients currently taking an SSRI," states president William Taylor.

"Pexeva provides physicians, pharmacists and--most important--patients with a branded, safe, effective and more affordable alternative to other SSRI therapies. We will endeavor to bring products in other therapeutic areas to market using the same business model: brand products at the lowest possible prices."

According to Synthon, Pexeva is bioequivalent to GSK's Paxil, which is composed of paroxetine hydrochloride. The chemical difference between the two is said to be the inactive salt portion of the active ingredient (Pexeva's mesylate versus Paxil's hydrochloride).

The inactive salt, says the company, is separated from the active paroxetine molecule in the gastrointestinal tract, leaving only the active paroxetine molecule to be absorbed.

Synthon's initial marketing strategy includes a multiyear agreement with Ventiv Health Inc., a Somerset, N.J.-based sales and marketing firm.

European clinicians have employed paroxetine mesylate from Synthon for about three years, with over 60 million tablets sold.

"We are selling Pexeva into the trade at roughly a 31% discount to Paxil. We are providing consumers and other payers the chance to vote with their pocketbooks: They can continue the status quo, or they can obtain significant savings in this important and growing market," maintains Taylor.

"Last year spending in the U.S. paroxetine market totaled $2.7 billion. Our research clearly indicates patients and the medical community want a reasonably priced SSRI product--and that's exactly what Synthon is delivering."

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Title Annotation:Generic Drugs; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor therapy.; Pexeva marketing.
Comment:SSRI patients are targeted by Synthon.(Generic Drugs)(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor therapy.)(Pexeva marketing.)
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 24, 2004
Words:439
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