Despite Costly Failures, Pharma Not Giving Up On Research For Alzheimer’s Medication
Meanwhile, Stat reports on the future landscape for new diabetes treatments and KHN looks at the lethal drugs used in the aid-in-dying cases.
The Wall Street Journal:
Alzheimer’s: Pharma’s Great White Whale Is Still Worth Hunting
Alzheimer’s disease is both the largest unmet medical need in the U.S. and the most frustrating challenge for the drug industry. Don’t expect pharma companies to get discouraged anytime soon. Last week marked the latest failed trial of an experimental Alzheimer’s disease treatment when Merck & Co. announced results for verubecestat. Eli Lilly’s solanezumab flunked a clinical trial last November, the third failed late-stage trial for the drug. (Grant, 2/20)
Where Are All The New Diabetes Drugs?
There are few new drugs on the horizon for diabetes, which affects about 29 million Americans. Most of the treatments in late-stage development are simply improved versions of what’s out there — taken weekly versus daily, or orally instead of by injection. So has pharma run out of ideas in diabetes? Not exactly. But whether its ideas will ever get to market is another question. There’s plenty of promising science in the early stages of research. Available drugs, however, work pretty well. Given the cost of development and a high bar for approval, pharma can only afford to advance true-blue breakthroughs, and those are hard to come by. (Garde, 2/19)
Kaiser Health News:
Docs In Northwest Tweak Aid-In-Dying Drugs To Prevent Prolonged Deaths
Two years after an abrupt price hike for a lethal drug used by terminally ill patients to end their lives, doctors in the Northwest are once again rethinking aid-in-dying medications — this time because they’re taking too long to work. The concerned physicians say they’ve come up with yet another alternative to Seconal, the powerful sedative that was the drug of choice under Death with Dignity laws until prices charged by a Canadian company doubled to more than $3,000 per dose. (Aleccia, 2/21)