Biogen Idec today announced that FAMPYRA® (prolonged-release fampridine tablets) has been made available in Ireland for the symptomatic treatment of walking impairment in adults with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). FAMPYRA is a prescription drug and is licensed for use in all types of the disease, including the progressive forms. FAMPYRA is available by way of retail pharmacy on a private payment basis. FAMPYRA is not currently available for reimbursement through any of the Health Service Executive's (HSE's) payment schemes.
"We are very pleased that FAMPYRA is now available for use in Ireland", said Terry O'Regan, Vice President & Managing Director of Biogen Idec Ltd. "As a leading company in MS, we feel a strong sense of obligation to the MS community to bring new and innovative therapies to the people that need them, and we're absolutely delighted to be able to offer this new treatment option for MS patients with walking disability."
"Walking and mobility are the number one concerns for people with MS, so a therapy that potentially offers an improvement is a valued and welcomed addition to the treatment options available", said Doctor Christopher McGuigan, Consultant Neurologist, St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.
Dr. McGuigan is one of a number of healthcare professionals in Ireland who has previous experience with FAMPYRA as a participant in clinical trials, and via the Named Patient Supply programme.
In clinical trials, FAMPYRA demonstrated efficacy in improving walking speed. In the pivotal MS-F203 phase III study by Goodman et al, around 35% of patients taking FAMPYRA responded to treatment compared with 8% of patients taking placebo. In the second study, the results were similar with 43% of patients in the FAMPYRA group responding to treatment compared with 9% in the placebo group.
FAMPYRA is not reimbursed by the Health Service Executive (HSE), however, Biogen Idec is providing up to four weeks' treatment of FAMPYRA at no cost, enabling clinicians and patients to trial the product and assess its effectiveness before committing to pay for treatment. Treatment effect is usually evident between two to four weeks.
FAMPYRA is currently available throughout most of Europe.