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Japan's health ministry warns of serious side effects of Lilly's Verzenio

Published on 23/05/19 at 11:03am

Japan’s Health Ministry has warned that Eli Lilly’s breast cancer therapy Verzenio could have serious side effects for patient’s lungs.

The health ministry said Verzenio is suspected of adversely affecting patients’ lungs after 14 patients developed a serious lung disease and three died.

The drug has been blamed for at least four of the 14 cases of lung disease, one of which resulted in death.

Eli Lilly’s breast cancer drug was approved in Japan in September 2018. Around 2,000 Japanese patients have used the drug since its release in November last year.

The Indianapolis-based firm said it has updated Verzenio’s label to include a warning of the risk of interstitial lung disease (ILD) for patients in Japan.

“ILD/pneumonitis is known to be more frequently observed in an East Asian population, and the majority of cases reported for Verzenio worldwide have been in Japan,” a Lilly spokesperson said to FiercePharma.

“The reason for higher incidence of non-infectious pneumonitis in this population is not fully understood, though differences in genetic sensitivity may play a role.”

Louis Goss

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