Friday, November 23, 2007

Luvox CR: Let the Marketing Battles Begin

My Luvox CR posting from this past Monday somehow made its way quickly to the upper echelons of Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Lloyd Davies, the Director of Finance of the company (at least that's his title in this recent industry training event), responded to my early review of Jazz's new product with the following email:

(November 21, 2007)
"I just read your blog. There are a few factual inaccuracies that you might want to correct. 1) It's Luvox CR not SR; 2) The product has not actually been approved yet - presumably why the adverts do not mention the product; 3) Luvox CR is a once a day formulation as opposed to the old product which was twice a day. Therefore the half life might be different right? 4) I am guessing that it is "comorbid" not "comorbic" which is not a word that exists.If you want people to pay attention to what you say you should at least get your facts straight. Perhaps quality would be better than quantity. Lloyd"

I think that my response was civil, but you can be the judge:

November 21, 2007
"Mr. Davies,
Thank you for your corrections, which I have already fixed. However, regarding the half life, my understanding is that CR formulations do not change the actual half-life of the molecules upon with they are based. The major relevant example would be Effexor vs. Effexor XR. The sustained release version is advantageous because it produces fewer GI side effects, but there is no evidence that I am aware of that XR causes fewer discontinuation side effects. Regarding the relationship between half lives and once a day vs. twice daily dosing, this is a non-issue for most psychiatrists. Both Cymbalta and nefazodone are short half life antidepressants that are typically dosed once-daily with no evidence of therapeutic disadvantages. Perhaps Jazz has conducted head to head studies of Luvox vs. Luvox CR--if so, the results would be informative.
Best, Danny Carlat"

I haven't heard back yet from Mr. Davies. I'm guessing that some folks higher up in the company are mulling over the best response, from a marketing perspective. I'd also hazard a guess that the CEO is none-too-pleased with Mr. Davies' e-mail to me. Somehow, I doubt that his message was vetted through media relations at Jazz. But I could be wrong!


Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of CR, XR, SR formulations of drugs; however there are half-life differences and there are differences, however minute, in discontinuation, between the "regular" and the "extended release" version. Whether this is a benefit that is felt clinically is a different argument.

Anonymous said...

Isn't an email a private communication between two persons? Is there some inherent understanding that an email can/will be published widely?

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Jazz got busted by the DOJ for kickbacks not long ago, thanks to a whistleblower rep of thiers.