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Over Half of Audited Multiple Sclerosis Patients Currently Treated with Biogen Idec's Tecfidera Have Experienced Minor Side Effects Although Impact on Use Appears Muted

BURLINGTON, Mass., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources Group finds that over half of audited multiple sclerosis (MS) patients currently treated with Biogen Idec's oral disease-modify therapy (DMT) Tecfidera have ever experienced flushing and/or gastrointestinal events while on the therapy. However, few Tecfidera-treated patients are currently experiencing these side effects, signifying either their transient nature or the effective medical management of such events. In the end, fewer than 15 percent of surveyed neurologists felt that Tecfidera-related side effects were an obstacle to their prescribing of the product.

Other key findings from the ChartTrends: Multiple Sclerosis 2014 (US) report:

  • Anti-JC virus antibody testing: The majority of patients tested for anti-JC virus antibodies were treatment naive or were on a DMT other than Biogen Idec's Tysabri at the time of testing, supporting neurologists' reporting that the main driver of assay testing is related to patients' potential candidacy for Tysabri. However, patients (regardless of serostatus) were more likely to stay on their original DMT than switch to another DMT for up to two years after testing.
  • Market potential of emerging therapies: When neurologists hypothetically chose one of the emerging products profiled to switch the audit patient to, Biogen Idec's Plegridy—the product likely to reach the market first—was most frequently selected. Over half of surveyed neurologists believe that Plegridy is most likely to replace the interferon-beta-1a therapy Biogen Idec's Avonex, however patient-level data suggest that the impact of Plegridy is more likely to be spread across the platform injectable DMTs.

Comments from Decision Resources Group Analyst Emma McFadden, Ph.D.:

  • "Although it is still uncertain when, or even if, generic versions of Teva's Copaxone 20 mg will be approved by the FDA, neurologists indicated that they plan to switch approximately one-fifth of audit patients to generic glatiramer acetate once available. While it is not surprising that Copaxone 20 mg appears to be most at risk for generic switching, it is interesting to note that Tecfidera- and Tysabri-treated patients appear to be least likely to be switched, alluding to neurologists' perception that these products have characteristics that justify the additional cost or reimbursement effort."
  • "Analysis of candidates for the emerging monoclonal antibodies Genzyme/Sanofi's Lemtrada and Genentech/Roche's ocrelizumab suggests that these DMTs would likely be prescribed to patients with more severe/aggressive MS and potentially compete with Tysabri, the DMT typically initiated when efficacy reasons are the main drivers of brand choice. Given Tysabri's general position in the MS treatment algorithm as a third-line or later option, these emerging agents will be reserved primarily for patients who have failed earlier lines of therapy."

About Decision Resources Group
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Decision Resources Group
Christopher Comfort

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