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Expand chart
Data: Company documents; Chart: Axios Visuals

Heart medications Vyndaqel and Vyndamax generated $1.3 billion of global revenue last year for Pfizer and already brought in $453 million in the first quarter of this year.

Why it matters: The blockbuster drugs could grow significantly more if Pfizer wins its pending lawsuit and is allowed to pay the out-of-pocket expenses of Medicare patients who are prescribed the $225,000-a-year treatment.

Between the lines: The drugs, which both have the active ingredient tafamidis, have a complex history.

  • Pfizer didn't develop the drug. It acquired the drug's developer, FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.
  • Pfizer then got the drug through a pivotal phase 3 trial and won FDA approval in 2019 after the FDA originally rejected the drug in 2012.
  • The National Institutes of Health funded the basic research that led to tafamidis.
  • Researchers say an annual price of $16,500, or a 93% discount, would match the drug's benefits. The United Kingdom won't cover tafamidis due in large part to the price. Pfizer does not disclose the drug's net price after rebates.

A bit of foreshadowing: "We're exploring ... a number of ways that we can help lower copay costs for Medicare patients," Pfizer executive Angela Hwang told investors in 2019, after Pfizer got FDA approval but before it filed its lawsuit.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

3 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."