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Thursday, November 21, 2013
U.S. Claims Data Show Declining Use of Platform Injectables as Oral Multiple Sclerosis Therapies Gain Traction
Nevertheless, Injectables Remain First-Line Mainstays Among Newly Diagnosed Patients, According to a New Report from Decision Resources
BURLINGTON, Mass., Nov. 20, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that, through examination of U.S. patient-level claims data, total patient share of platform injectable disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) among recently treated multiple sclerosis (MS) patients declined over four quarters of data collection ending June 30, 2013, with a steeper drop observed in Q2 2013, coinciding with the launch of Biogen Idec's Tecfidera. Quarterly analysis shows that injectable DMTs, namely the interferon betas and Teva's Copaxone, captured a combined 70 percent patient share among recently treated patients in Q2 2013 compared with 80 percent one year earlier. Meanwhile, during the drug's first three months on the market, Tecfidera captured a sizable patient share in this population, approaching the level of Novartis's first-to-market oral DMT Gilenya in this same quarter. These data likely reflect both pent up patient demand for Tecfidera and prescribers' positive opinions of the product's clinical profile compared with other DMTs.
However, the Treatment Algorithms in Multiple Sclerosis report also finds that platform injectables continued to capture a commanding 84 percent of first-line patient share among MS DMTs. Copaxone and Biogen Idec's Avonex were most often prescribed among newly diagnosed MS patients, together capturing over 60 percent of first-line patient share in this population, likely owing to their established advantages in tolerability and delivery, respectively. Thanks to physician comfort and a positive long-term safety record, injectable DMTs maintained a dominant first-line position despite the availability of newer oral alternatives—Gilenya, Tecfidera and Genzyme's Aubagio—which combined to capture only just 6 percent of first-line patient share, driven mostly by Gilenya.
"U.S. claims data confirm that time-tested injectables remain a core component of MS treatment, overall and in treatment-naive patients, likely due in part to neurologists' conservative adoption of new agents," said Decision Resources Senior Director Jonathan W. Searles. "That said, with oral DMTs capturing nearly 18 percent total patient share in the second quarter among patients in our sample who were recently treated, and with the use of Tecfidera surging, we anticipate continued steady losses among current mainstays over the near-term."