However, Aubagio’s Prescriber Base Continues to Lag Behind That of Novartis’s Gilenya at Same Stage of Product Launch, According to a New Report from BioTrends Research Group
May 30, 2013 - Exton, Penn.
– BioTrends Research Group, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that over half of surveyed neurologists have prescribed Aubagio, the second oral disease-modifying agent (DMA) marketed for multiple sclerosis (MS), to at least one of their MS patients at six months post-launch. While this represents a significant increase in prescriber base from one and three months post-launch, it does trail that observed with Gilenya (according to LaunchTrends: Gilenya Wave 3
) at the same stage of product launch. This difference in prescriber base between the two oral DMAs is reflected in a smaller Aubagio patient share among DMA-treated relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) patients compared with the six-month share reported for Gilenya. Nevertheless, initial uptake of Aubagio continues to be driven by the product’s convenient once-daily, oral formulation, with the majority of patients initiated on Aubagio still coming from switches.
With Biogen Idec’s Tecfidera being approved days before current survey fielding, substantial press coverage was given to the comparative wholesale prices across the DMAs, with Aubagio being the least expensive. Data from the LaunchTrends: Aubagio Wave 3
report suggest that this information has not had the expected impact on neurologists’ perceptions of Aubagio’s cost as significantly more of the 73 surveyed neurologists now perceive Aubagio as being more expensive than the other DMAs compared with previous waves. Furthermore, while current prescribers continue to express high overall satisfaction with Aubagio, especially for its efficacy, they rate their satisfaction with the product’s cost significantly lower than at three months post-launch. Qualitative feedback suggests that difficulties with managed care coverage of Aubagio may be having a trickle-down effect on neurologists’ perception of Aubagio’s price.
“Given that neurologists report currently treating 9 percent of their DMA-treated RR-MS patients with the oral DMAs available at the time of survey fielding (Aubagio and Gilenya), it is interesting to note that surveyed neurologists expect the oral DMA group to capture 23 percent patient share over the next six months,” said BioTrends Research Group Analyst Emma Williams, Ph.D. “Although this growth is anticipated to be driven predominantly by Tecfidera uptake, Aubagio patient share is also projected to significantly increase, while Gilenya patient share is expected to remain stable.”
Overall, these results highlight neurologists’ growing receptivity to oral DMAs and indicate a general shift in the MS treatment algorithm, away from the platform DMAs (Biogen Idec’s Avonex, Bayer HealthCare’s Betaseron, Teva’s Copaxone and Pfizer/EMD Serono’s Rebif) and Biogen Idec’s Tysabri.