AbbVie (ABBV) won an expected, but much-needed boost on Wednesday when the Food and Drug Administration approved its new Skyrizi medication for treating psoriasis. The question now is the extent to which this move will help the drug maker compensate for the impending loss of patent protection on Humira, a franchise product that is prescribed for the same malady, among other things.
The answer seems to be that Skyrizi — which will launch next month with a $59,000 list price — will help, but only so much.
psoriasis is an incurable (for now) chronic disease. biologics like humira are highly effective but over time their efficacy fades, so this is a market of churn. once it is widely available as a biosimilar, humira will cement its place as the first line biologic, but there’s always going to be plenty of opportunity for subsequent treatments. the efficacy and dosing schedule make this treatment highly attractive, even if its when the efficacy of humira inevitably fades over time.
I wonder how often psoriasis drugs can be avoided by finding the cause. I had plaque psoriasis in 2017 that lasted nearly a year. I only figured out what it was after thin flakes of skin up to about a centimeter long began peeling off. I tried to think what I was doing differently that may have caused this. I realized I’d been eating 4 to 6 oz. of cashews daily as a protein source, and I remembered that cashews contain urushiol which is a powerful antigen (same one as in poison oak and poison ivy). I stopped eating cashews, and the psoriasis peaked in the two following days. After that, it diminished until it was gone. If I’d gone for a drug treatment, I’d probably still be on the drug. I’ll probably never eat another cashew or the other foods that contain urushiol (mangoes and pink and green peppercorns).
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