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EASD: Lilly, BI’s Jardiance tops GLP-1s at cutting heart failure hospitalization in real-world study

BARCELONA—The GLP-1 and SGLT2 diabetes drug classes have been dueling for years now, with drugmakers gunning to produce data that give their drugs an edge. The latest from partners Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly showed their SGLT2 med Jardiance topped GLP-1s at preventing heart failure hospitalization.

Pitted against GLP-1s in a real-world data study, Jardiance pared down the risk of heart failure hospitalizations by 26%, BI and Lilly said Thursday at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting.

“We really think that is good for patients because heart failure and diabetes is really very common, and it leads to premature death and lots of costs to health systems,” Jyothis George, BI’s head of medicine for Jardiance, said.

He also pointed to a recent draft report from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a U.S. cost watchdog, that concluded closely watched oral GLP-1 candidate semaglutide from Novo Nordisk didn’t measure up to Jardiance when it came to cost effectiveness.

Novo’s prospect has proven only an “incremental benefit” in preventing adverse cardiac events when compared with Jardiance, leading ICER to determine that “other treatments may provide better overall benefit and at lower cost.”

“This piece really frames in that context the value to patients, value to physicians, but also health systems,” George said of the real-world analysis.

In regard to ICER’s report, a Novo spokesperson said at the time that the company welcomes “this discussion because determining the value of innovation is vital to how healthcare will improve and be reimbursed,” he said. The oral version of semaglutide is set for an FDA decision this week, and Novo hasn’t yet announced a list price.

But BI, Lilly and their competitors in the SGLT2 class—which include AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson—may welcome that discussion even more. Analysts have predicted big things for oral semaglutide, which could threaten the turf of not only rival GLP-1s, but SGLT2s, too—particularly because it’s topped drugs from both classes in trials.  
George, though, isn’t worried. “We have the semaglutide competition—we are aware of that. But at the end of the day we really believe the package of benefits that empagliflozin can provide for patients today and tomorrow is unique,” he said.