GSK launches Advair for asthma in USA; major marketing push planned

17 April 2001

GlaxoSmithKline has launched its new combination drug for asthma, Advair(fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder), in the USA. The company has high hopes for the drug's potential in the US market, and says it expects sales to top $1 billion and help maintain GSK's top billing in the respiratory drug sector, which provided the firm with revenues of L2.8 billion ($4.1 billion) in 2000.

Along with its antidiabetic drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), GSK has identified Advair as a key driver for near-term revenue growth. Although it has already been launched in 38 countries, where it is also sold under the trade names Seretide and Viani, the US launch provides access to the world's largest market for asthma drugs, where the benefits of inhaled steroid treatment are increasingly being recognized. Indeed, products for maintenance control of the disease, rather than on-demand treatment of attacks, are the fastest-growing segment of the asthma market. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted Advair a broad label, allowing usage in asthma patients of all types aged over 12, notes the firm.

GSK claims that Advair is the first and only product in the USA that allows people "to effectively treat the two main components of asthma, inflammation and bronchoconstriction, with one easy-to-use device" (the Diskus inhaler). This ease of use has been largely responsible for the product's impressive sales growth since its launch in 1998; revenues were $48 million in 1999, its first full year on the market, but rapidly climbed to L208 million in 2000.

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