In a study published this week by Majestic Research, almost 60% of neurologists expressed unaided concern about the side effects/safety of oral MS therapies in development, including NVS's Gilenia and MRK/EMD Serono's oral cladribine. Despite their concerns, the vast majority of neurologists expect to prescribe these drugs if they are approved, as the new oral MS therapies are expected to be highly efficacious and more convenient for patients than available injectable therapies. Data from the study suggests that new orals will steal share primarily frommultiple sclerosis market leaders, including BIIB's Avonex and TEVA'sCopaxone.
The study titled Event Pulse Preview: Multiple Sclerosis shows that 84% of neurologists expect to prescribe Gilenia for some MS patients if approved, but prescribing will likely be limited to second- or third-line therapy until concerns about safety and monitoring requirements are resolved. Jemma Lampkin, Director of Market Research, said, "Neurologists are clearly worried about the side effects that have come up in the clinical trials for these drugs in development, and the negative press regarding Tysabri's PML cases over the past few years also seems to be a factor. Still, almost all of the neurologists in this study expect to prescribe Gilenia, so there is optimism regarding its potential." The study suggests that Gilenia, which is expected to be approved in September 2010, could have a more significant impact than some have predicted.