When Novartis launched Entresto two years ago at a price of 4,600 dollars a year, heart failure drug ran into certain problems at that time.
The market was dominated by generic drugs, so the pricey new entry didn’t sit well with pharmacy benefits managers and insurers—despite ringing endorsements from the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the Heart Failure Society of America, all of which recommended that physicians switch their patients to Entresto.
Now things finally go in favor of Novartis. In the company’s recently announced second quarter earnings, sales of Entresto skyrocketed 244% year over year to $110 million, beating the consensus analyst estimate of $105 million. During a conference call with investors after the earnings release, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez said the product is on track to reach sales of $500 million this year.
Novartis has been talking up pay-for-performance overseas as well. The company’s U.K. unit recently sponsored a study by the Social Market Foundation in London, which concluded that the country’s National Health Service should switch to an outcomes-based reimbursement model.
During the recent earnings call, Jimenez noted that Novartis “continuing to make progress on reimbursement” of Entresto overseas.
Will this be enough for Entresto to reach sales of $ 6 billion, which some analysts foreshadowed the drug at the start? Probably not, but this turn Novartis investors have welcomed: the company’s shares have grown by 15% since the beginning of the year to 84 dollars.