publication date: May. 18, 2018

Drugs and Targets

FDA approves first epoetin alfa biosimilar for the treatment of anemia

The FDA approved Retacrit (epoetin alfa-epbx) as a biosimilar to Epogen/Procrit (epoetin alfa) for the treatment of anemia caused by chronic kidney disease, chemotherapy, or use of zidovudine in patients with HIV infection. Retacrit is also approved for use before and after surgery to reduce the chance that red blood cell transfusions will be needed because of blood loss during surgery.

The FDA approval of Retacrit is based on a review of evidence that included extensive structural and functional characterization, animal study data, human pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data, clinical immunogenicity data and other clinical safety and effectiveness data that demonstrates Retacrit is biosimilar to Epogen/Procrit. Retacrit has been approved as a biosimilar, not as an interchangeable product.

Like Epogen/Procrit, Retacrit must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that provides information about the drug’s uses and risks. In addition, as with Epogen/Procrit, Retacrit contains a Boxed Warning to alert health care professionals and patients about increased risks of death, heart problems, stroke and tumor growth or recurrence. Additional warnings include high blood pressure, seizures, a condition in which the bone marrow stops making red blood cells thus causing anemia, serious allergic reactions and severe skin reactions.

The agent is sponsored by Hospira Inc., a Pfizer company.

Copyright (c) 2018 The Cancer Letter Inc.