The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) - improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure - said POMALYST® (pomalidomide) approval by Health Canada provides patients the most up-to-date oral therapy available for patients who have exhausted all other treatments. In a Phase III clinical study, POMALYST increased survival when measured against a comparison regimen. It was approved in the U.S. and Europe last year for use in relapsed/refractory myeloma patients along with low-dose dexamethasone, a steroid.
"When current drugs stop working, patients who've been through the full arsenal of available treatments need powerful new therapeutics, and POMALYST is one of the newest medications that meets that need," said Brian G.M. Durie, M.D., Chairman and Co-founder of the IMF. "The IMF is working to find a cure for myeloma, but in the meantime we are pleased to see new innovative treatments becoming available to patients worldwide."
The IMF, through its global advocacy arm, supported affiliated partner Myeloma Canada by gathering information from myeloma patients and caregivers who have experience with pomalidomide where it has been approved. Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects production of red cells, white cells and stem cells and can damage bone. There are approximately 7,000 Canadians living with myeloma, with more than six new cases diagnosed each day in Canada.
"We believe it is only right for patients everywhere to have equal access to vital new therapies, and this is an important move in that direction," said Susie Novis, President and Co-founder of the IMF. "However, regulatory approval by Health Canada is just the first step. We stand ready to support Myeloma Canada to encourage the individual provinces, territories and private insurers to provide funding for POMALYST so patients can readily access the drug when their doctors prescribe it."
Since the introduction of the novel therapies to treat myeloma beginning more than ten years ago, the median survival rate for myeloma patients has increased from three years to nearly ten years. POMALYST now joins with VELCADE®, REVLIMID® and THALOMID® to help extend these remissions. Another new therapy, KYPROLIS® (carfilzomib), a second-generation proteasome inhibitor is still awaiting approval in Canada.
SOURCE International Myeloma Foundation