Bayer has decided to stop selling its prostate cancer drug Viadur because sales have stalled and do not look like improving any time soon.

The company’s US unit announced that “after careful consideration”, it will discontinue marketing of Viadur (leuprolide), the first titanium implant drug-delivery system which manages the symptoms associated with advanced prostate cancer, including pain and urinary problems. Bayer noted that the decision has nothing to do with any safety or efficacy issues but is “based on diminished market demand and growing manufacturing costs”.

The firm said it had concluded that Viadur has “limited long-term market viability” but it will fulfil orders until current supplies are depleted, which is expected by the end of April next year. Bayer added that alternative therapies are available and patients should discuss these options with their healthcare providers.

One firm that should benefit from the move is Indevus Pharmaceuticals of the USA which noted that once Viadur supplies dry up, its own product Vantas (histrelin) will be the only 12-month implant for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Kurt Lewis, senior vice president, sales and marketing of Indevus, said the firm is committed to “providing continuity of care for current Viadur patients" and will ensure that physicians have ready access to Vantas.

In March 2000 the US Food and Drug Administration approved Viadur, then an Alza Corp drug, but it was licensed to Bayer a month later.