Physicians anticipate new oral therapies for multiple sclerosis patients

Physicians are anticipating the arrival of new oral therapies for multiple sclerosis patients, with initial research showing very high awareness of oral candidates, particularly Novartis' Gilenya, which received FDA approval for relapsing forms of the disease in late September. The majority of neurologists expect Gilenya to be very useful as a therapy and trial of the drug is predicted to be strong, according to new research by GfK HealthCare.

“very useful in the treatment of MS”

This syndicated research study will serve as the baseline for a continuous tracking study that will enable pharmaceutical manufacturers to monitor the changing dynamics of the MS market, from the perspective of both physicians and patients, on an ongoing basis.

According to the physician study, the vast majority of neurologists are aware of oral therapies, with 80 percent identifying Gilenya on an unaided basis (identified mostly as "fingolimod" or "FTY720") and 61 percent identifying Merck KGaA's cladribine. Physicians anticipate the positive impact of these therapies in treatment of MS patients, with 60 percent of neurologists expecting Gilenya to be "very useful in the treatment of MS" and 40 percent expecting cladribine to be "very useful."

GfK HealthCare also assessed the expected trial of the new therapies as well as the impact on the market for current disease modifying therapies (DMTs), which currently only include injectables and infusions. The study found that trial of Gilenya is predicted to be strong and will impact Avonex, Copaxone, Betaseron and Rebif.

The new oral therapies are also greatly anticipated by MS patients, who are eager for alternatives to injection and infusion treatments. According to neurologists participating in GfK HealthCare's study, close to half of their recent patients asked questions regarding oral therapies.

"We are pleased to offer pharmaceutical manufacturers a cost-effective means to track the dynamic MS market, which is particularly volatile as changes are occurring almost daily and major disruptions are anticipated with the entry of a string of oral agents," said Louise Gillis, associate vice president, research, GfK HealthCare. "Through GfK HealthCare's continuous MS tracking study, brand teams will have a constant pulse on the impact of both major and minor market events, such as the entry of new therapies, which will enable them to adjust their strategies accordingly."

Neurologists Provide Continuous Insights Into the Changing MS Market

The baseline report reflects the insights from 152 neurologists, fielded via Internet questionnaire in mid-August 2010. After the launch of Gilenya, GfK HealthCare's Multiple Sclerosis MD Continuous Tracker will provide an analysis of the changing dynamics of the multiple sclerosis market. The continuous tracking feature enables clients to tap data related to major or minor market events when they need it. GfK also offers a similar MS Tracker covering the patient perspective.


GfK HealthCare


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