Bristol-myers, Pfizer’s Eliquis OK’D in Japan
TRENTON, N.J. — Regulators in Japan have approved sales of an anticlotting drug called Eliquis, developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc., that’s a potential blockbuster in a new category of medicines to prevent strokes and heart attacks. But that’s only if it can win U.S. approval, as two rival drugs have done.
Pfizer and Bristol-Myers said Wednesday that Japan approved use of Eliquis for treating the most common type of irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, in patients at risk for strokes or dangerous clots called systemic embolisms.
Already approved for sale in Canada and the European Union, Eliquis has twice been rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
About a quarter of all people aged 40 and older develop atrial fibrillation, a condition in which the heart’s two upper chambers contract irregularly and don’t pump blood efficiently.
It increases the risk of a stroke fivefold, and strokes caused by atrial fibrillation are more severe than other strokes, with half of patients who suffer them dying within a year if not treated.