More MS news articles for Jan 2002

Teva may benefit from new UK drug initiative

Jerusalem Post - Israel; Jan 28, 2002

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is likely to be one of the main beneficiaries from the changes in drug regulations in the United Kingdom.

The Financial Times reported on Saturday that the UK's National Health Service may soon implement a program under which it will provide multiple sclerosis patients with expensive medicines, with the manufacturers paid according to the treatment's success.

Teva, which has developed its own multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone, along with Serono SA, whose multiple sclerosis drug, Rebif, was also developed in Israel at the Weizman Institute, are potential participants in the project. Other candidates are Biogen Inc., and Schering AG, the Financial Times reported. The UK multiple sclerosis treatment market is worth $1.6 billion a year. The UK was also the first EU country to approve the Copaxone, in December 2000.

Although sales of branded Copaxone have been approved in 15 European countries, North America, in which Teva holds a 26% market share, currently accounts for an overwhelming 89 percent of the drug's sales and the company, the largest drug manufacturer here, has said it is looking to increase European sales.

If the new British plan is approved it would be the first time pharmaceutical companies have accepted a payment mechanism that leaves them accountable for the treatment's success rate. The model could be applied to other drugs and treatments.

Under the 10-year agreement, the NHS will pay manufacturers the full GBP6,600-GBP12,000 a year price for the treatment. Patients to whom the drugs are given would be monitored and an assessment made of whether the drug is working. If it is, payments will be continued in full. If not, they will be reduced on a sliding scale.

The deal was developed after the National Institute for Clinical Excellence ruled that the treatments were not cost-effective enough for the NHS to adopt them routinely. It urged the health department to find a way of delivering them more cost-effectively.

Paul Woodward, managing director of Schering Healthcare, told the Financial Times, "In England and Wales we think between about 7,500 and 9,000 patients would benefit in total, not all the 84,000 patients with MS."

In a separate development, Teva said that its Metformin tablets for diabetes patients had received final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, and they will begin marketing the product immediately.

The world's largest generic drug manufacturer said its generic version of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Glucophage would be sold in tablets of 500 and 850 milligrams. The medication is intended as an adjunct to diet to lower blood glucose levels in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.

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