EXTON, Penn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BioTrends Research Group, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) view themselves as key decision-makers in the management and treatment of MS in equal partnership with their neurologist. According to the recently published PatientTrends®: Multiple Sclerosis (U.S.), patients’ perceptions of their influence are supported by the high percentage (71 percent to 100 percent) of disease-modifying agent (DMA) brand requests which were recalled to have been honored by their neurologists. And, perhaps as a result of being highly involved in brand decisions, MS patients tend to give uniformly high ratings for current DMA brand satisfaction, advocacy, and loyalty. In fact, MS patients rate their current DMAs higher compared to neurologists as seen when patient–reported data are compared with physician-reported data from the recently published TreatmentTrends®: Multiple Sclerosis Q1 2012 (U.S.). The satisfaction gaps between the two groups are greatest for Biogen Idec’s Avonex and Novartis’s Gilenya suggesting that patient satisfaction can be a major influence on persistency for these brands.
Similar to physician-reported perceptions in TreatmentTrends: Multiple Sclerosis, the 299 surveyed MS patients rate efficacy attributes as most important in the brand decision process. However, depending upon their current DMA, patients do differ significantly on how important attributes related to safety, drug cost, patient assistance, and dosing frequency are to them. As an example, patients currently treated with Bayer’s Betaseron rate drug cost as significantly more important compared to all other patients. Finally, two-thirds of patients report being aware of the anti-JC virus antibody assay and, among the few patients currently treated with Biogen Idec’s Tysabri who are known to be seronegative, confidence is high in the PML risk stratification algorithm.
The PatientTrends: Multiple Sclerosis (U.S.) report also finds that the MS patient journey frequently began with patients experiencing symptoms — often abnormal sensory perceptions — and making an appointment with the doctor within one month of symptom onset. Only one out of ten patients are diagnosed at this initial visit perhaps due to the high percentage of patients who first turn to their PCP for medical care. Once diagnosed, most patients start their first-line DMA within six months of diagnosis. Interestingly, patients currently on Betaseron or Pfizer / EMD Serono’s Rebif, both high dose, high frequency interferons, recall having waited significantly longer to start their first-line DMA compared to patients started on the low dose, low frequency interferon, Avonex. Since being diagnosed with MS, 82 percent of patients report having participated in some type of pharmaceutical company-sponsored program. Betaseron and Teva’s Copaxone receive especially high marks for their medical support and financial assistance programs, respectively.
Although satisfaction with current DMAs is high, patients would like to see new DMAs having more convenient modes of administration and better safety / tolerability profiles. Furthermore, while awareness of DMAs in development is low, patients express significantly more interest in potentially switching to Sanofi / Genzyme’s teriflunomide or Biogen Idec’s BG-12 compared to Sanofi / Genzyme’s alemtuzumab or Teva’s laquinimod — driven by a mixture of safety, comparable efficacy, and convenient formulation and dosing. And, with patients having an influential voice in the brand decision process, these patient-reported perceptions could bode well for the future uptake of both of these products.
PatientTrends: Multiple Sclerosis (U.S.) is a syndicated annual report that provides detailed information regarding MS patients’ path to diagnosis and treatment and their perception of their disease and treatment, how patients’ satisfaction with their current MS treatments compares with their expectations for drug treatment, and what attributes of MS patients’ disease and treatment contribute to their brand satisfaction, advocacy, and loyalty. The report also captures desired improvements in future DMAs and determines which DMA attributes are most likely to encourage a patient to request a switch to an emerging DMA in development. The 2012 survey was fielded in March 2012 with 299 DMA-treated MS patients in the U. S. In addition, the voice of the patient is captured through 15 in-depth interviews conducted with survey respondents, allowing for a more detailed understanding of the impact of MS on patients’ lives.
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