Drug Approved for Spinal Cord Injuries
Pfizer Inc.'s pain drug Lyrica has received regulatory approval for treating an estimated 100,000 Americans who have chronic problems associated with spinal cord injuries, the company said Thursday.
Pfizer, which has its largest worldwide research site in Groton, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved Lyrica for people experiencing neuropathic pain after spinal cord injuries. The company said the pain targeted by Lyrica can be debilitating, hindering rehabilitation efforts and making it difficult to cope with day-to-day life.
"The approval of Lyrica for this indication is a significant milestone, exemplifying Pfizer's commitment to pursue scientific advancements that address unmet medical needs," said Steven J. Romano, head of Pfizer's medicines development group, in a statement.
The FDA approval was expected to give a boost to sales of Lyrica, which last year totaled $3.4 billion, second only to cholesterol pill Lipitor, which has been fading fast after facing generic competition starting late last year.
Lyrica has been prescribed off-label by doctors for patients experiencing nerve pain associated with spinal cord trauma, but some insurance companies have balked at covering the cost of the medicine for a non-approved use. The FDA's approval is expected to alleviate these concerns and boost sales for the pain medication.