BURLINGTON, Mass., Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the National Health System (SUS) covers all the biologics available for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Brazil. Covered biologics are provided free of charge to eligible patients under a program managed at state level (the CEAF). Main barriers to RA treatment with biologics derive from regional discrepancies, such as the limited availability of high complexity hospitals and the number of rheumatologists.
The Emerging Markets Physician & Payer Forum report entitled The Changing Landscape for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Brazil: Physician and Payer Insights and Market Access Strategies for Success finds that after CONITEC's (Brazil's HTA agency) recommendation in September 2012 for the inclusion of all eight biologics for RA in the SUS, the CEAF expanded to accommodate Bristol-Myers Squibb's Orencia, Roche's MabThera and Actemra, Janssen/Merck's Simponi and UCB/Astellas's Cimzia into national coverage. The private sector is also experiencing changes, and starting January 2014, RA treatment with both IV and SC biologics will have mandatory coverage. As a result, surveyed rheumatologists expect to start prescribing these eight biologics with greater freedom in the near future, in more lines of therapy, and to more patients. Nonetheless, respondents report that approximately one-third of their drug-treated patients are receiving biologics currently, suggesting similar biologic treatment rates to those reported in some European countries. In addition, the range of therapeutic options for RA is expected to increase in the upcoming years with the entrance of several biosimilars and emerging Jak-inhibitors.
"The Ministry of Health in Brazil is investing in the domestic production of premium-priced agents and has already established several strategic partnerships for the development of RA biologics," said Decision Resources Director Andreia Ribeiro, Ph.D. "Payers believe that the Partnerships for Productive Development (PDPs) constitute a powerful strategy to supply the government with locally produced, cheaper drugs and that in the near future, the public sector will be largely, perhaps totally, dominated by PDP-produced drugs."
The report also finds that Pfizer's Xeljanz and Elli Lilly's baricitinib, once approved, are well positioned for inclusion in the SUS, as they present an oral formulation that is more convenient to the patient and reduces administration costs. However, both agents need to show more evidence of a good safety profile. Almost half of surveyed rheumatologists say they are likely to prescribe Xeljanz to patients who have failed one anti-TNF-alpha inhibitor, or another biologic, by the end of 2016. For baricitinib, these estimates are slightly lower. The majority of respondents, though, foresee lower prices than that of Humira.
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SOURCE Decision Resources