Doctors Name Most Trusted Drugs

American physicians named Viagra and Cialis among the most trusted brands that they prescribe in the first-ever Harris Poll Physician Pulse study.

The study—conducted by custom and syndicated market research firm Harris Interactive—asked physicians about their prescribing habits in four high-volume prescription categories (anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, erectile dysfunction, and non-insulin diabetes treatments) as well as had them rank pharmaceutical treatments based on the Harris Poll multidimensional Trust Index.

Trust Index scores were based on five components, including three related to the drug itself (Familiarity, Function, and Emotional Connection) and two related to the manufacturer of the drug (Company and Representatives). The online survey polled a total of 759 respondents (358 primary care physicians, 192 psychiatrists, 101 urologists, and 108 endocrinologists) with quotas set to ensure that at least 200 of the physicians were aware of the brands named in the study and would be able to answer questions based on their expertise.

Anti-Depressant Treatments: SCORE

1. Lexapro (Forest Laboratories): 74
2. Cymbalta (Eli Lilly and Company): 72
3. Wellbutrin XL (GlaxoSmithKline): 71
Category Average: 69

Anti-Psychotic Treatments

1. Abilify (Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals): 74
2. Seroquel (AstraZeneca): 73
3. Geodon (Pfizer): 67
Category Average: 65

Non-Insulin Diabetes Treatments

1. Glucophage XR (Bristol-Myers Squibb): 77
2. Januvia (Merck): 73
3. Victoza (Novo Nordisk): 71
Category Average: 71

Erectile Dysfunction Treatments

1. Cialis (Eli Lilly and Company): 82
1. Viagra (Pfizer): 82
Category Average: 81

SHARING COMPOUNDS

NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) is launching a pilot program that gets the wheels rolling on one of the Institute’s dream goals—giving researchers access to pharma manufacturers’ vault of unused compounds. Pharma manufacturers have freezers containing hundreds of compounds that never made it to market for whatever reason (failed clinical trials, budget restraints, etc.) and when the creation of NCATS was being discussed last year, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, said that one of his goals was to establish a collaboration that would allow researchers to give these compounds a second chance. Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly and Company have agreed to partner with NCATS to provide dozens of compounds for this initiative’s pilot phase.

The new initiative, Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules, will give researchers access to a part of the therapeutic pipeline they don’t typically deal with—compounds that have already cleared several hurdles, including human testing. One old, but infamous, example of a compound that found new life is azidothymidine (AZT), which was developed as a treatment for cancer but was found to be the first effective treatment against HIV.

Under the program’s template agreements, industry partners will retain ownership of their compounds while academic research partners will own any intellectual property they discover and have the right to publish the results of their work.

PLAVIX LOSES PROTECTION

The world’s second-most sold prescription drug for the past several years is going generic. Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), marketed by Sanofi- Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb, lost its exclusivity last month and the FDA quickly approved generic versions of the blood thinner. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Gate Pharmaceuticals, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceuticals have gained FDA approval for 300 mg clopidogrel while Apotex Corporation, Aurobindo Pharma, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Roxane Laboratories, Sun Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Torrent Pharmaceuticals have received approval for 75 mg clopidogrel. Coinciding with the approval of generic versions, Bristol-Myers and Sanofi launched the Plavix Choice Card program to give people a big discount on the brand-name drug. Insured patients can sign up for the program and get a 30-day supply for no more than $37—Plavix can cost $200 a month. — Andrew Matthius

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