Novartis Facing Financial Struggles and Challenges Getting Doctors on Board with Beovu
Written by: Lauren Schwab, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
After a series of intraocular inflammation events related to Beovu were reported to the drug's manufacturer, Novartis, the company decided to conduct a safety review aimed at investigating the incidents, some of which led to severe vision loss. The assessment completed by the independent Safety Review Committee on April 8, 2020, concluded there is a confirmed safety signal of rare adverse events. The subsequent label change and issues surrounding Beovu may have impacted Novartis' share value.
Financial Issues for Novartis
Additionally, Novartis' CEO released a statement admitting the COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly difficult to value takeover candidates. In "Novartis CEO says COVID-19 makes valuing takeover targets tougher", an August 2020 article written for Reuters, Novartis Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan expressed his disappointment with the company's development of drugs aimed at fighting COVID-19:
Narasimhan, a U.S. citizen who took over two years ago as CEO, acknowledged disappointment that Novartis’ existing medicines had not proven more useful against COVID-19. For instance, the company, like others, abandoned a trial of its older malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine after it failed to help patients in scientific studies.
Moreover, he said Novartis had hoped to be faster in developing new drugs against COVID-19 and could have potentially profited from more cooperation with smaller biotech companies. “We concentrated more on our own in-house activities - and learned a lesson from it,” he said....
Novartis’ share price has fallen 15% this year, compared to peer Roche Holding AG’s 2% rise.
In addition to the potential financial impact of COVID-19 on Novartis, CEO Narasimhan expressed belief safety issues related to Beovu may have cost Novartis shares nearly 10% of their value.
Doctors Reluctant to Fully Embrace Beovu
Additionally, Novartis is seemingly having a difficult time getting eye doctors to fully embrace Beovu, a claim made in a September 2020 Fierce Pharma article, "Novartis, Roche fined $526M in France for alleged Lucentis marketing missteps":
Novartis, meanwhile, has been struggling to persuade eye doctors to embrace Beovu, which was approved in the U.S. last October and in the EU in February. But that same month, the American Society of Retina Specialists flagged 14 cases of retinal vasculitis reported among Beovu patients, most of which were serious enough to put them at risk of vision loss.
It was enough to prompt eye doctors surveyed by Piper Sandler to drastically reduce their estimates for Beovu’s market share potential; after initially predicting it could grab 17% share by August, they revised that prediction downward to just 8.4%. The docs predicted “anger and mistrust of [Novartis], indicating an uphill battle," Piper Sandler analysts wrote in a note to clients. (Emphasis added)
Sales of Beovu fell from $68 million in the first quarter of this year to $34 million in the second. COVID-19 shutdowns didn’t make selling eye drugs any easier: Novartis reported that in the second quarter, Lucentis sales dropped 25% year over year to $401 million.
For a complete list of side effects or more information on Beovu, please visit our Beovu Drug Information Page.
We will continue to monitor the issues surrounding Beovu and provide you with any new or relevant information. Please feel free to share any information with us as well.
Drug Injury Watch: Side Effects News & Reports
Drug Injury Law: Medical & Legal Information