Merck’s cancer drug Keytruda is paying off for the pharmaceutical company. The Wall Street Journal reports that sales for the drug soared to $881 million in the second quarter; sales for the drug in last year’s second quarter was $314 million.
Merck is taking full advantage an FDA ruling in May that said that Keytruda (pembrolizumab) can be used for almost any solid tumors with one of two genetic abnormalities that have not responded to first-line treatment. It’s the first drug to be given the status of first tissue/site-agnostic. It is a victory for proponents of precision medicine, the idea that every cancer is as different as every person battling it and medications should reflect that diversity.
The news wasn’t all positive for Merck, according to the WSJ. “In Europe, where Merck has a longstanding partnership with Johnson & Johnson, the introduction of biosimilars by other companies knocked Merck’s Remicade sales down 39% in the second quarter.”
Source: Wall Street Journal