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Managing the Treatment Costs of Multiple Sclerosis in a Managed Care Setting

Immunomodulatory drugs, such as Copaxone(R) and interferons, provide foundation for effective disease management

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January 29, 2004
Source: Teva Neuroscience
PRNewswire

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:

"It is tempting for managed care companies to focus just on pharmaceutical acquisition costs when trying to manage costs associated with MS," Dr. Morrow said. "Although every attempt should be made to negotiate the lowest possible costs, other factors must be considered to avoid negatively affecting quality of life, or shifting costs to another component of the managed care system."

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.

This release contains forward-looking statements, which express the current beliefs and expectations of management. Such statements are based on current expectations and involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause Teva's future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include Teva's ability to successfully develop and commercialize additional pharmaceutical products, the introduction of competitive generic products, the impact of competition from brand-name companies that sell their own generic products or successfully extend the exclusivity period of their branded products, Teva's ability to rapidly integrate the operations of acquired businesses, the availability of product liability coverage in the current insurance market, the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and pending legislation that could affect the pharmaceutical industry, the difficulty of predicting U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") and other regulatory authority approvals, the regulatory environment and changes in the health policies and structure of various countries, acceptance and demand for new pharmaceutical products and new therapies, uncertainties regarding market acceptance of innovative products newly launched, currently being sold or in development, the impact of restructuring of clients, reliance on strategic alliances, exposure to product liability claims, dependence on patent and other protections for innovative products, fluctuations in currency, exchange and interest rates, operating results and other factors that are discussed in Teva's Annual Report on Form 20-F and its other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC").  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

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