FDA approves quicker-to-administer drug for blood cancers

AP News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2017 5:48 PM
FDA approves quicker-to-administer drug for blood cancers

U.S. regulators have approved a more convenient version of a blockbuster drug for treating three common blood cancers.

The Roche Group's Rituxan, on the market for 20 years, is administered in a hospital or clinic through an intravenous drip that can take several hours.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Swiss drugmaker's new version, Rituxan Hycela (RIH'-tux-en HEYE'-cell-uh). It's injected in about six minutes, shortening clinic visits.

It's given every three weeks for six months to treat diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, for a total cost of about $48,600 without insurance — the same as for Rituxan.

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Rituxan Hycela also was approved for treating follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Rituxan, which will still be available, is Roche's top seller. It had 2016 sales of $7.5 billion.