Apparently scouring the bins for something — anything(!) — postitive to report — our friends in Kenilworth offer up a pathetic, waifish “new hope” for getting FDA to approve sugammadex in the United States — a truly-tiny study, that apparently broke no new ground, on any front — save, perhaps, the PR front. And that may yet backfire.
Recall that in April, FDA declared this candidate non-approvable. Recall also that though approved in Europe, it will garner perhaps one penny of EPS, in the near term, for Schering — anesthesia is simply viewed by surgeons, and thus used, differently (fewer cocktails — combinations of drugs, as a routine anesthesia protocol, in surgery) in Europe (generally speaking, here), than it is in the United States (with “cocktails” galore).
So, I am surprised that CEO Hassan and crew would believe this would do anything other than (potentially) further alienate (recall finally that Mr. Hassan gave the FDA staff a Wall Street Journal front-page finger-wag/tongue-lashing, this past Summer!) the senior FDA staff. It seems rather prosaic, and transparent — it seems an attempt to influence public opinion — not advance science (the numbers are too small to be meaningful).
To my admittedly-biased eye, it seems that a study with only 37 patients in treatment is designed to advance a specific PR agenda — “Gee, isn’t that mean old FDA being unreasonable in declaring sugammadex non-approvable?” — that’s the messaging point just out of the spin-meisters in K-1:
. . . .In the study, sugammadex was well tolerated in the 37 patients who received the treatment, and its safety profile overall was comparable with that of neostigmine. Safety data from the study showed that the most frequently reported adverse events (AEs) for patients in both groups included procedural pain, nausea and incision-site complications. Serious adverse events (SAEs) were reported for two patients in the sugammadex group (postoperative infection and postoperative ileus) and three patients in the neostigmine group (nausea/pain/dyspnea, gastric perforation/procedural complication and postoperative ileus). No SAE was considered study drug-related. Only one patient (neostigmine group) discontinued from the study because of two SAEs (gastric perforation/procedural complication) and subsequently recovered. No cases of hypersensitivity were reported in the study.
Text of the full study titled, “Reversal of Profound Rocuronium-induced Blockade with Sugammadex: A Randomized Comparison with Neostigmine,” can be found on the Anesthesiology website. . . .
Smells like desperation to me — as many larger unhedged multi-nationals are already (only one month into the fourth quarter) warning about potential foreign exchange/currency trainwrecks, should the euro’s plummet, and the dollar’s sharp rise, continue into December. Schering will definitely feel this effect — and pointing the lank finger of accusation at FDA would not be above this crowd — even though the two have literally nothing to do with one another.