This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Early Amarin Vascepa Scripts Are Small, Hard To Interpret

BEDMINSTER, NJ ( TheStreet) -- Weekly prescription data on Amarin's (AMRN) fish-oil pill Vascepa are out. The numbers are tiny but that's not surprising.

For the week ended Feb. 1 (the latest weekly data available), Vascepa scripts stand at 252, up from 67 in the prior week, according to IMS Health.

Symphony Health (formerly Wolters Kluwer) shows similar Vascepa weekly script numbers: 247 for the week ended Feb. 1, up from 75 in the previous week.

To put these numbers in some perspective, Lovaza total scripts were 97,562 for the week ended Feb. 1, according to Symphony Health. Lovaza is a competing fish-oil pill marketed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Amarin launched Vascepa at the end of January so the prescription data disseminated by third-party research services only represent the drug's early days on the market. As such, the information has limited value. Vascepa scripts are increasing, which is positive, but the small numbers of scripts make the trend hard to interpret.

Doctors are also handing out free Vascepa samples to patients, which wouldn't be counted as paid scripts captured by IMS Health and Symphony Health. It's very likely more than 252 (or 247) patients started on Vascepa therapy in the week ended Feb. 1, but how many more patients isn't something investors can determine right now.

Likewise, calculating Vascepa sales to date is challenging because Amarin is also offering coupons and other financial incentives to spur early demand for the drug. This means there's going to be a disconnect between patients counts and weekly/monthly sales.

Vascepa's wholesale acquisition cost is $184 for a 30-day prescription. You can do the math yourself to calculate weekly sales to date but again, don't over-interpret.

Amarin is presenting at the Leerink Swann Global Healthcare Conference on Weds. Feb. 13, so listen to hear if management provides an update or details on the Vascepa launch. If not, Amarin may say something about Vascepa when it reports fourth quarter and 2012 results at the end of the month or early in March.

Five sell-side analysts have published estimates for quarterly Vascepa sales during 2013, according to Bloomberg. The mean consensus and the range from these five analysts are as follows:

1st quarter: $10 million (range $5-15 million)
2nd quarter: $18 million (range $10-25 million)
3rd quarter: $46 million (range $8-69 million)
4th quarter: $54 million (range $37-101 million)

For all of 2013, the Vascepa consensus sales estimate is $114 million from nine sell-side analysts, according to Bloomberg.

Amarin shares are up 1% since the Vascepa launch was announced officially on Jan. 24 -- reflecting Wall Street's "show me the money" attitude toward the company's ability to sell the drug effectively on its own.

An early restriction on the reporting of Vascepa scripts in place before and at the time of the launch was lifted, an IMS Health spokesperson said last week.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AMRN $2.03 -0.98%
SRPT $37.86 -9.40%
AAPL $111.53 0.68%
FB $92.85 -1.20%
GOOG $640.35 -0.17%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,821.12 +44.69 0.27%
S&P 500 1,982.91 -4.14 -0.21%
NASDAQ 4,751.7290 -29.5350 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs