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Rheumatologists in the EU5 Give the Highest Satisfaction and Performance Ratings to Rituxan and Benlysta for the Treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

EXTON, Pa., Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that rheumatologists in the EU5 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom) give Genentech/Biogen Idec's Rituxan and GlaxoSmithKline/Human Genome Sciences's Benlysta the highest satisfaction and overall product performance ratings. Despite their lower utilization and later use in the treatment algorithm for moderate-to-severe patients, physicians report positive impressions of the drugs. Surveyed rheumatologists also believe the products outperform other agents on their ability to put the disease into remission, maintain remission and stop organ dysfunction or failure. These attributes are rated as the most important attributes when making the prescribing decision and are partially responsible for driving physicians' high ratings of the products. Surveyed rheumatologists also perceive Rituxan and Benlysta to be well-tolerated with few serious adverse events.

The TreatmentTrends®: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (EU) report finds that biologic agents are reserved for moderate-to-severe cases of SLE. Although Rituxan is not approved to treat SLE, it is the biologic market leader in the EU5 capturing a 61 percent biologic patient share, followed by Benlysta (26 percent) and Bristol Myers Squibb's Orencia (14 percent). 

Benlysta received approval from the European Medicines Agency in July 2011. However, according to some rheumatologists participating in the study, Benlysta does not have full market approval or was not on protocol in their respective geographic locations. This was the number one reason mentioned for not trying the product. 

"Even though rheumatologists rated Rituxan and Benlysta relatively favorably, and higher than  generic hydroxychloroquine in terms of satisfaction and overall product performance, hydroxychloroquine is still the agent used most often to treat SLE, because it is a relatively low cost product that is easy to use, with moderate efficacy and a good safety profile," said BioTrends Senior Director Greta Unger. "Despite the favorable ratings for Rituxan and Benlysta, rheumatologists are still looking for new agents for their patients with moderate-to-severe SLE, especially the more difficult-to-treat patients with organ damage, such as those with CNS and renal manifestations."

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