EXTON, Pa., Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that neurologist-reported patient share for Biogen Idec's Tecfidera, the newest oral disease-modifying therapy (DMT) to reach the multiple sclerosis (MS) market, has increased significantly to seven percent among DMT-treated relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) patients, compared with one and three months post-launch. At six months post-launch, Tecfidera's patient share already matches that of Novartis's Gilenya, the first oral DMT (which became commercially available three years ago) and surpasses that of Genzyme's Aubagio, the second oral DMT, which launched one year ago. This growth in Tecfidera's patient share is driven by significant growth in volume per prescriber, reflecting widening adoption within individual practices, as well as significant expansion of the prescriber base (80 percent of surveyed neurologists). Patient origination data show a trend towards fewer patients initiating Tecfidera therapy following a treatment gap of two or more months, suggesting that most patients warehoused in anticipation of Tecfidera's launch have already been switched to the therapy at six months post-launch.
The recently published LaunchTrends: Tecfidera (Wave 3) US 2013 report finds that one-fifth of Tecfidera-treated patients have experienced flushing and/or gastrointestinal events according to prescribers, significantly fewer than three months ago. This decrease is likely the result of increased physician and patient experience with the product, allowing for better management of potential side effects. However, tolerability issues continue to be the most common reason for Tecfidera discontinuation, as findings suggest that gastrointestinal events are more disruptive to treatment than flushing. Additionally, prescribers report that significantly more patients discontinued Tecfidera due to cost issues compared with three months ago. Neurologists continue to identify cost and managed care issues among the main obstacles to using Tecfidera more, potentially driven by the significant increase in Tecfidera prescription denials by managed care companies for treatment-naive and switched patients. During qualitative interviews, neurologists, while identifying treatment-naive patients among the most likely candidates for Tecfidera, often reported difficulty getting Tecfidera approved as a first-line agent.
"Even with potential access issues, uptake among current nonprescribers and continued use among prescribers will help drive significant growth in Tecfidera patient share to a forecasted 18 percent over the next six months," said BioTrends Research Group Senior Business Insights Analyst Emma Williams, Ph.D. "Together with the slight, yet significant, increase in patient shares for Aubagio and Gilenya, oral DMT share is expected to expand to one-third of the market, stealing share from the platform mainstays including Biogen Idec's Avonex, Bayer HealthCare's Betaseron, Teva's Copaxone, and Pfizer/EMD Serono's Rebif, signaling the evolution of the MS treatment algorithm away from injectable drugs."
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