Pillbox Biography: The Creation Of A Blockbuster Drug
The Creation Of A Blockbuster Drug
With millions of women affected by osteoporosis, Merck knew it had a potential blockbuster drug when it developed Fosamax. The problem: A lack of bone density scanners and high costs meant not many women were getting diagnosed. Merck worked hard to make bone scan machines cheaper and more prevalent — and was wildly successful. By 2005, Fosamax sales peaked at almost $3.2 billion worldwide. Medicare claims for bone screening exams continued to increase, reaching 2.8 million in 2007. The drug went off patent in 2008. Currently, Congress is considering reducing Medicare payments for many types of scans.
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Timeline: Fosamax Sales
Source: The Securities and Exchange Commission; American College of Radiology; "Medicare Cuts DXA to the Bone" by Christine Simonelli, M.D., June 2007 issue of Minnesota Medicine; U.S. Osteoporosis Diagnostics Market, copyright 2001 Frost & Sullivan
Credit: Nelson Hsu; Gisele Grayson; Kathleen Masterson/NPR