You won’t believe the identity of Galena’s best customer! – GALE

Just for fun, lets take a deeper look at the retail sales numbers for Galena Biopharma‘s me-too fentanyl drug Abstral in Q4 2013, and attempt to answer the question, “Just who is buying all the Abstral?”

It turns out, that for Q4 2013 the largest buyer of GALE’s Abstral has been…

Galena itself.

Abstralq4BreakdownThe pink line, “Assistance Program“, is Galena’s free fentanyl program and associated discounting. It is by far the largest buyer of Galena’s own product. Based on this independent prescription data, it looks like approximately $1.16mm of Q4 Abstral purchases were made with GALE’s own money.

Galena’s infamous stock promotion campaign was probably more cost-effective.

As an aside, the cash purchases, indicated in yellow, seem to correlate well with Hannukah and Christmas. Any thoughts as to who buys opiod drugs 20x stronger than heroin for cash? Diversion, perhaps?

The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of the author. The author may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, and should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. This blog is not a solicitation of business: all inquiries will be ignored. The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


  1. You’re an idiot. AstraZeneca is promoting its new drugs by providing the first script for free and then discounting subsequent purchases.

    [@Donsker – OK Genius why don’t you pony up for IMS or Symphony data and find an example of an AstraZeneca drug where the assistance program is the LARGEST buyer? It is not the existence of such programs (though DTC advertising of such offers for C2 drugs is morally repugnant) that we are discussing here, but its relative size compared to actual paying customers. – Editor]

  2. I don’t even know where to start with your “analysis”. I can tell by your reply to doNkster you are in over your head. Does
    your boss know that you are playing with his IMS and SHS data base while you are cleaning his office?

    [@BT – The data has been presented without any analysis at all. It is the actual data. Care to find us an example of another company that is its own largest customer? – Editor]

  3. First, I apologize for my comment above. It just hit a nerve when you point to the fact that there may not be an comparable analog for Abstral’s data. You seem to believe you are proving a point by challenging others to find one. The only thing that NOT finding a comparable launch analog to Abstral would prove, is that it didn’t happen before (or it did). Yet you persist in going that direction.

    You are correct that no “analysis” was done. You are inferring that this is a negative, extremely negative is probably not too strong. You maybe right.

    That being said, the payment type, Assistance or other, can only be captured when the prescription is filled. For that to happen an oncologist will get experience writing the product and getting feedback on the patient’s experience. If the physician likes the results, they will prescribe again. Oncologists are known for selecting the best product for the patient and worrying about the cost secondarily. They are not prescribing because it is free.

    Just a thought.. it would be interesting to see the Dynamic Claims data to see the percentage or claims being rejected and reversed.

    I have worked on launches that have had fast uptake and fizzled, and at least one launch failure that became a blockbuster. Your three months of data (the older pre-promotion data is nonsense and you know it) proves one thing, nobody is sure what will happen here, and if they do…it is not because of your IMS PRx data, at this point anyway.

    Invest only after YOU weigh the risk v. rewards.

    [@BT – I would agree with you if it were only one or two months of pre-promotion activity, but Abstral had over 2 years of sales history before Galena acquired the rights, and as of now 3 years of being in the marketplace. There really is only one word for Abstral’s performance. Lackluster. And that is being kind. – Editor]

  4. author: why does the total for the period selected for ‘assistance’ read $98,549, whereas the chart has over $200k in december?

    [@Patrick – The figures to the right of the labels are the values for the most recent weekly data point. It is not a summation of all the data points. – Editor]

Leave a Reply