Humira, which is poised to become the world's top-selling drug next year, treats forms of arthritis and also the skin condition psoriasis. Sales of Humira more than doubled between 2007 and 2010, reaching $6.5 billion globally. Sales next year are expected to reach $8.7 billion making Humira the worlds Number 1 drug for prescription sales.
However with new competition looming Abbott Laboratories, the makers of Humira, is planning improvements including possibly a once-a-month dose versus the current every-other-week regimen and a thinner needle to reduce patient discomfort during injections.
Humira faces competition that could hit the market starting next year, including newer injectable drugs and experimental oral pills. The oral pills, analysts believe, including Pfizer Inc.'s Tofacitinib, may take market share from Humira and drugs like it because they offer more appeal and convenience to patients.
So, will a thinner needle help Humira stay ahead of its' competition? Probably not!
A once-monthly dose of Humira would be easier to take than every two weeks, but a thinner needle might not make much difference because the current needle is already thin. That is because patient compliance is very important so probably having to take a pill twice a day will be less attractive than patients having to have an injection twice a month.
Abbott is also looking at other potential changes include widening Humira's approved uses to treating the gastrointestinal disorder colitis. They have already applied for regulatory approval to market the drug as a treatment for ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease that causes cramps and diarrhea.