Patient Share for Tecfidera Has Doubled Among Relapsing-Remitting MS Patients Compared With Two Months Ago, According to a New Report from BioTrends Research Group
BioTrends Research Group, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that patient share for Biogen Idec’s Tecfidera among relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS) patients treated with disease modifying therapy (DMT) has doubled from two percent at one month postlaunch to four percent at three months postlaunch. In fact, despite being the third oral DMT to reach the MS market, patient share for Tecfidera exceeds that for the first two oral DMTs for MS—Sanofi/Genzyme’s Aubagio (1 percent) and Novartis’s Gilenya (1 percent)—at the same stage of their respective launches. Current physician trial rate for Tecfidera (65 percent) beats that for Aubagio (33 percent) and Gilenya (53 percent).
The recently published LaunchTrends: Tecfidera Wave 2 report finds that, although neurologists continue to identify Tecfidera’s oral formulation as the product’s biggest advantage, their positive perceptions related to Tecfidera’s efficacy and safety profile likely drives initial uptake and continued use among prescribers, underscoring the importance neurologists assign to a drug’s risk/benefit profile rather than its mode of administration.
Representing a shift from two months ago, Tecfidera is now the DMT least associated with managed care coverage. Feedback from qualitative interviews suggests that some Tecfidera prescribers have experienced difficulties with managed care approval of Tecfidera, especially among treatment-naive patients, with prescribers reporting that insurance companies often require patients to have failed one of the platform injectable DMTs prior to Tecfidera use. Consequently, Tecfidera prescribers report that the majority of Tecfidera prescriptions need some requirement for managed care approval, most often prior authorization but also step therapy. However, the majority of Tecfidera prescribers continue to rate Tecfidera’s managed care approval process as being either moderately difficult or easy.
Over the next six months, Tecfidera’s patient share among DMT-treated RR-MS patients is anticipated to increase significantly to 16 percent, being driven by continued use among current prescribers and initial uptake among current nonprescribers.
“This finding suggests that, even at this early stage of market entry, Tecfidera is becoming the oral DMT of choice for neurologists, while patient shares for Aubagio and Gilenya are expected to grow much more modestly over the same time period,” said BioTrends Research Group Senior Business Insights Analyst Emma Williams, Ph.D. “However, despite this enthusiasm for Tecfidera, a stable patient population and managed care issues will likely curb Tecfidera’s use to some extent.”