Sanofi and Bayer Report

Sanofi and Bayer Report

Sanofi and Bayer Report

This morning both Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) and Bayer reported second quarter and half year results. Based on the results from both companies it appears their respective diabetes franchises are holding up very well during this difficult environment.

It was gratifying to hear Sanofi taking an aggressive stance supporting Lantus® and it was even better to see that sales of Lantus remain strong. From the start of the call this morning the company came out swinging stating that the studies that attempted to link Lantus to cancer were of “poor quality.” According to the company tracking data suggests prescribing patterns for Lantus have only been minimally impact since the studies were published back on July 23, 2009. About the only market were there appears to be an impact is Germany.

While Lantus has received strong support throughout the diabetes community the company will follow a path followed by Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) when their lead drug Byetta was tainted over pancreatitis concerns. Like Amylin, Sanofi will examine insurance databases looking for further evidence that there is no connection between Lantus and cancer. Diabetic Investor applauds Sanofi for their aggressive support of Lantus and believes a complete review of the data will fully vindicate this excellent therapy option.

One has to wonder if the research community will learn anything from this event. As everyone knows Diabetic Investor is a not a fan of retrospective or meta-analysis. Having spoken with several experts in both study design and statistics these backwards looking studies are prone to different conclusions based on which data sets are included or excluded. This was evident during the Avandia controversy when others tried to replicate Dr. Nissen’s meta-analysis and offered different conclusions.

Diabetes is a complex disease state and for the majority of patients diabetes is not the only condition they are dealing with. This creates enormous problems when retrospective analysis is used with any diabetes drug.  Additionally it seems as if everyone has forgotten that diabetes is the enemy and that every drug carries some degree of risk. Perhaps the strong rebuke of the studies published in Diabetologia will mark a turning point in this area.

Moving on to Bayer it appears the company is bucking a trend when they stated in their press release; “The Medical Care Division grew sales thanks especially to the strong performance of its Contour® and Breeze® blood glucose monitoring systems (Fx adj. plus 10.4 percent each)”.  It should be noted that the 10.4% increase is based on a comparison to 2008 second quarter results. Still the company appears to be holding its own while their competitors appear to be experiencing sales declines.

Before everyone starts jumping for joy and begins to think that Bayer has solved the problems facing every other BGM company it should noted that Bayer does not breakdown sales by region nor do their results reflect the impact of currency exchange. When Diabetic Investor called to the company for greater clarity to the numbers they stated sales of Contour are up 3.4% for the year while sales for Breeze have declined 2.9% for the year.

Based on what others have reported and Diabetic Investor’s discussions with industry sources it would be wise to remember something Walter Lippmann once wrote; “The statistical method is of use to only those who have found it out.”