Aventis Pharma, earlier known was Hoechst Marion Roussel, has set
a sales target of Rs 6 crore for its newly-launched
anti-rheumatoid arthritis drug, leflunomide, under the brand name
It is for
the first time that a once daily, oral, specifically designed
arthritis drug is launched in the Indian drug market.
So far rheumatoid arthritis has been treated by methotrexate in 47
per cent of cases, sulphasalazine in 29 per cent of cases and
chloroquine, popularly known as an anti-malarial, in 24 per cent
October happens to be the World Arthritis Day.
to Bashir Ahmed, the executive director who in charge
of the companys commercial operations, Aventis Pharma
is expecting a Rs 6 crore sales turnover for the drug
Arava in the first year of its launch. Arava will be
the first new disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug for
the treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis.
The company claims that Arava is a highly efficacious
drug with a good safety profile when used with proper
care and monitoring. Like other drugs in its class, pregnant
women cannot take Arava, and alcohol has to be avoided.
Senior company officials said the number of patients expected
to take Arava, a lifelong treatment, in the first year
is around 5,000. The company has also simultaneously launched
Joint Effort, a unique programme for the counseling
support, treatment and rehabilitation of rheumatoid arthritis
patients. Trained counselors from the company will periodically
visit all patients on Arava.
According to Dr P K Pispati, a rheumatologist consultant
at Bombay Hospital, rheumatoid arthritis can become severe
in six months, leading to surgery. It can also affect
vital organs and lead to heart attack. There are 60 million
rheumatoid arthritis patients in the world and of the
6,400 patients that he has examined at medical camps over
a period of three years, 22 per cent of them suffered
from rheumatoid arthritis.
at the launch, Dr Anand N Malviya, previously associated with
AIIMS, said NSAIDs and disease
modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) have comparable toxicity.
DMARDs are the drugs which can actually stop the disease
progression. More and more young ladies are falling prey to the
disease and dying at an early age.