One of the most common drugs in the world, acetaminophen pain reliever that’s found in Tylenol and Excedrin, got some bad press last week. An FDA advisory panel recommended new restrictions be placed on the drug because it can cause liver failure at high doses. So if you’re San Diego-based Cadence Pharmaceuticals, and the future of your business depends on marketing a new version of acetaminophen to hospitals, it wouldn’t be surprising if you were a little nervous.
But Cadence CEO Ted Schroeder didn’t sound the least bit rattled last week about the dynamics of the pain reliever market when I interviewed him and his newly hired commercial lieutenant, Scott Byrd.
Cadence is sharpening up its marketing game plan this year, as it spends the next few months vying for FDA approval of the first intravenous form of acetaminophen, called Acetavance. This drug will be pitched to hospitals as a safer alternative to narcotic pain relievers like Vicodin and Percocet, which can be addictive and cause constipation and other side effects. Lots of patients recovering from surgery can’t swallow the standard oral form of acetaminophen, and at $8 a dose, Wall Street analysts are expecting this could make Acetavance into a $500 million-a-year product. Cadence’s market research suggests that as many as 70 percent of patients undergoing surgery complain that drugs didn’t control their pain well enough afterwards, and the company is hoping to position its drug as a safer first option.
“Hospitals are under pressure to improve their pain management, but they’re also under pressure to reduce narcotic pain reliever use,” Schroeder says. “You can’t accomplish both … Next Page »