Bristol, AstraZeneca withdraw diabetes drug in Germany

FRANKFURT Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:32am EST

FRANKFURT Dec 13 (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca said they would pull a new diabetes drug from the German market because they had failed to agree on a price with a body of medical insurers.

The decision to stop marketing oral drug dapagliflozin in Germany comes just a day after it was endorsed by an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The two companies said in a joint statement on Friday that the new drug, which had already been launched in Europe under the brand name Forxiga, would no longer be delivered to Germany from Dec. 15.

The two companies could not agree on a price for Forxiga in negotiations with the German association of statutory medical insurers and are pulling the drug even as a round of mediation is continuing.

"AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb will reconsider their decision to stop distribution of Forxiga after the mediation procedure is concluded," they said, adding that other European countries were not affected by the move.

Before price negotiations started, an advisory panel of medical experts and insurance representatives failed to see any additional benefits from the drug compared with standard treatments.

Germany in 2011 started comparing the benefits of newly approved drugs with those of existing treatments and gave medical insurers more bargaining power in price talks with drug makers.

This has prompted a number of companies to refrain from a market launch in Germany, such as Boehringer Ingelheim and partner Eli Lilly, who chose to not sell their diabetes drug Trajenta there.

Forxiga blocks SGLT2, a protein that works independently of insulin to lower blood sugar. By blocking the kidney from reabsorbing blood sugar, the drug spurs removal of glucose through the urine.

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