The Food and Drug Administration approval of the first generic versions of osteoporosis drug Boniva won’t be the end of Roche Holding AG (OTC: RHHBY) for its marketing of Boniva in the United States. It will however help out smaller generic players like Apotex, Orchid, and Mylan Inc. (NASDAQ: MYL).
What makes Boniva unique in the osteoporosis market other than that Sally Fields was the ad woman is that it is a once per month tablet marketed to prevent osteoporosis in women after menopause. The osteoporosis drug aims to help increase bone mass to reduce the risks associated with weak bones and spinal fractures in women.
Apotex previously agreed not to sell the drug until the patent rulings were out, so the FDA allowance for generics will allow generics to begin selling. There is an interesting set of figures. At least 5 million patients are on one of the drugs under the class called “bisphosphonate therapy” which Boniva is one of several in that class. Drugs.com noted that the total size of the osteoporosis market is $18 billion in the United States.
Mylan shares are down slightly on the day. What portion of this generic market it can capture is still an unknown.
JON C. OGG