Immunomodulatory drugs, such as Copaxone(R) and interferons, provide foundation for effective disease management
January 29, 2004
Source: Teva Neuroscience
Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients incur healthcare costs at a rate two to three times higher than patients without MS. As a result, managed care companies that insure MS patients must establish cost-effective disease management programs that initiate treatment early, decrease relapses, and minimize side effects in order to control both direct and indirect costs. According to a paper published in the November edition of Formulary, several steps can be taken by managed care companies to provide optimum care while effectively managing costs.
Critical to effectively managing patient outcomes and associated costs of worsening disease is selecting the most effective drugs for formulary inclusion. Immunomodulators such as COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) and the interferons provide a major improvement over previous drugs, such as steroids, that only treated the symptoms of MS. Treating early and aggressively is recommended by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Indirect costs, such as productivity loss to society, income loss to the patient, disability payments, and lost opportunity costs resulting from time spent receiving treatment are even greater than direct costs.
"On average, using 1994 dollars, patients may lose about $18,000 annually," said Dr. Thomas Morrow, president of the National Association of Managed Care Physicians. "The total costs annually may be as much as $34,000 per patient. As a result, it is imperative that cost-effective disease management programs are in place and executed consistently by managed care insurance plans."
Dr. Morrow suggests in the Formulary article that managed care companies can benefit from adopting approaches that provide cost-effective, high-quality care. This involves coordinating and reducing variability of care, including early use of disease-modifying agents by neurologists to reduce risk of relapse and improve patient adherence. It also includes a series of specific interventions such as:
COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) is indicated for the reduction of the frequency of relapses in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
The most common side effects of COPAXONE(R) are redness, pain, swelling, itching, or a lump at the site of injection, flushing, chest pain, weakness, infection, pain, nausea, joint pain, anxiety, and muscle stiffness. These reactions are usually mild and seldom require professional treatment. Patients should tell their doctor about any side effects.
Some patients report a short-term reaction right after injecting COPAXONE(R). This reaction can involve flushing (feeling of warmth and/or redness), chest tightness or pain with heart palpitations, anxiety, and trouble breathing. These symptoms generally appear within minutes of an injection, last about 15 minutes, and go away by themselves without further problems.
COPAXONE(R) is now approved in 42 countries worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Israel, and all the European countries. In Europe, COPAXONE(R) is marketed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., and Aventis Pharma. In North America, COPAXONE(R) is marketed by Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., headquartered in Israel, is among the top 30 pharmaceutical companies in the world. The company develops, manufactures, and markets generic and branded human pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Close to 90 percent of Teva's sales are in North America and Europe. Teva's innovative R&D focuses on developing novel drugs for diseases of the central nervous system.
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA is a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Teva Neuroscience, Inc. is a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Teva Neuroscience, Inc. markets COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection).
See additional important information at http://www.copaxone. com/pi/index.html or call 1-800-887-8100 for electronic releases. For hardcopy releases, please see enclosed full prescribing information.
COPAXONE(R) is a registered trademark of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
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