Schering-Plough has launched its broad-spectrum antifungal Noxafil in the UK, following its approval across the European Union last October.

Noxafil (posaconazole) is indicated for the treatment of serious refractory invasive fungal disease, and is available as a 40mg/ml oral suspension. The approved dose is 400mg twice-daily, and the net price for a 105ml bottle is £500.69.

A spokeperson for S-P in the UK said that this is the second market for Noxafil. It was first introduced in Germany last November, she noted, and will roll out across Europe over the coming months.

The drug is expected to find particular use in the treatment of infections, such as aspergillosis, that are developing resistance to established treatments. Noxafil is indicated in the UK to treat invasive aspergillosis in patients refractory to or intolerant of amphotericin B or itraconazole; chromoblastomycosis and mycetoma in patients refractory to or intolerant of itraconazole; coccidioidomycosis in patients refractory to or intolerant of amphotericin B, itraconazole or fluconazole; and fusariosis in patients refractory to or intolerant of amphotericin B.

Invasive fungal infections, which can be life threatening, most often occur in people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, such as organ transplant patients or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or stem cell transplant.

A recent report by market research company Datamonitor suggested that the worldwide market for systemic antifungals will grow from a level of around $3.3 billion in 2003 to almost $6 billion by 2014, driven by an increased incidence and severity of invasive fungal infections, combined with the launch of novel, premium priced antifungal products.