Several more countries have approved Pfizer Inc.’s new rheumatoid arthritis medicine, a twice-a-day pill seen as likely to be a big moneymaker for the company.
The drugmaker said Monday that its Xeljanz has been approved for patients not adequately helped by existing treatments in Russia, Argentina, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland, the first European country to allow sales. Xeljanz, the first in a new class of drugs for the joint-damaging immune disorder, was launched in November in the U.S., where it has been heavily advertised. It’s about to be launched in Japan, where it was approved in March. But concerns over serious, though rare, side effects including cancer have blocked approval in Europe until now.