Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that use of Novartis' Diovan in earlier lines of therapy compared with Merck's Cozaar is influenced by physician perception that the former is more effective and affordable for patients. Thirty-nine percent of surveyed cardiologists and 45 percent of surveyed PCPs consider Diovan superior to Cozaar in reducing systolic blood pressure. Twenty-nine percent of surveyed cardiologists and 38 percent of surveyed PCPs point to Diovan's lower cost--compared with Cozaar--as a reason to choose the agent. However, a sizeable group of surveyed physicians (30 percent of surveyed cardiologists and 28 percent of surveyed PCPs) view both agents as equivalent.

"Physicians have multiple generic options to choose from in first- and second-line treatment, including diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and beta blockers. Nonetheless, we find that approximately half (51.7 percent) of the patients who were prescribed Diovan take the drug as a first- or second-line treatment, which allots a higher percentage of this agent's use to early lines of therapy compared with either Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis' Avapro or Cozaar. Surveyed physicians' responses suggest that Novartis' investment in clinical trials and formulary negotiations has helped Diovan gain some ground in the competitive AIIRA space," said Madhuri Borde, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources.

The new report entitled Treatment Algorithms in Hypertension also finds that 24.2 percent of patients starting Novartis' Exforge, which combines Diovan with amlodipine in a fixed-dose combination, previously received Diovan or the Diovan/diuretic fixed-dose combination Diovan HCT. A further 18.5 percent of patients moving to Exforge had been prescribed a calcium channel inhibitor in the previous line, indicating that fixed-dose combinations are keenly dependent on the penetration of their single-agent components as an access point.

"The unique data in the Treatment Algorithms in Hypertension report allows brand managers to accurately quantify the percentage of patients moving from first line to second line, the length of time patients are on a therapy before switching and the number of patients dropping therapy versus adding on," said Dr. Borde. "Each of these metrics is critical to building an accurate model of how patients move between therapies and is key in better estimating the potential pool of consumers."

About Treatment Algorithm Insight Series

Decision Resources combines in-depth primary research with the most extensive claims-based longitudinal patient-level data from IMS Lifelink: Health Plans Claims database to provide exceptional insight into physicians' prescribing trends and the factors that drive therapy product choice, from diagnosis through multiple courses of treatment, for a specific disease.

About Decision Resources

Decision Resources (www.DecisionResources.com) is a world leader in market research publications, advisory services and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources and master their chosen markets. Decision Resources is a Decision Resources, Inc. company.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at www.DecisionResourcesInc.com.

All company, brand or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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SOURCE: Decision Resources

CONTACT: Natalia Morales of Decision Resources, +1-781-296-2691,
nmorales@dresources.com, or Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc.,
+1-781-296-2563, emarshall@dresources.com

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