Sep 30 2009, 5:14 AM EST
Patient-Targeted Messaging for Emerging Multiple Sclerosis Agents Needs to Highlight Efficacy and Preservation of Quality of Life
WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that patient-targeted messaging for emerging multiple sclerosis oral agents will need to provide high-level information regarding the efficacy and preservation of quality of life and forego catchy and/or short taglines highlighting oral dosing. The knowledgeable multiple sclerosis patient population is likely to already be informed about oral dosing and will want information regarding efficacy and safety so that they can readily compare these new agents to the efficacy and safety of currently available agents.
"Based on our survey of multiple sclerosis patients, messages from Biogen Idec's Avonex were among the most appealing to patients because they highlight the drug's ability to slow the progression of disability and its ability to reduce the frequency of relapses. Messages highlighting patient support programs (such as Bayer's Betaseron) or needle size (such as Teva Pharmaceutical's Copaxone) were among the least appealing," stated Amanda Puffer, analyst at Decision Resources.
The new report entitled Brand Perceptions in Multiple Sclerosis also finds that surveyed neurologists perceive the efficacy of Merck Serono's safer Rebif nearly as equivalent to that of Biogen Idec's Tysabri. Despite Tysabri's efficacy in clinical trials, this shows that neurologists do not perceive its superiority in delaying disability progression to be sufficient to offset its safety drawbacks.
"One of our most surprising findings was the fact that surveyed neurologists perceive Tysabri to be only slightly more efficacious than Rebif. Even though Tysabri's efficacy is superior to that of Rebif's, it is well accepted that neurologists are hesitant to prescribe Tysabri because of the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) associated with it," added Ms. Puffer.
PML is a rare and potentially fatal central nervous system infection occurring in immune-compromised individuals.
The report contains primary research with 101 U.S. neurologists and 253 U.S. patients. Key brands included in the primary research consist of Avonex, Tysabri, Rebif, Betaseron, Copaxone, Genentech's Rituxan, Roche's CellCept and generics.