Late Friday afternoon, August 15, 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave Biogen’s PlegridyTM (peginterferon beta-1a) a green light (i.e., approval) for use in relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. This new drug, basically an improvement on two longtime gold standard medications, Avonex and Rebif, is a longer-acting formulation of interferon beta-1a that is given by subcutaneous (under the skin) injection every two weeks, compared to Rebif’s subcutaneous injections three days each week and Avonex’s intramuscular injection once weekly.
Plegridy was approved in Europe on July 23, 2014
for treatment of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). It comes in a prefilled
syringe or a new ready-to-use autoinjector called the Plegridy Pen.
July, Mat Hesser, Director of Biogen Idec’s Patient Center of
Excellence, told me that Biogen will continue to produce Avonex but may
spend less time actively promoting it. As Biogen now offers four of the
eleven drugs approved for MS, in addition to Fampyra outside the US,
they are undoubtedly the leading MS-focused pharmaceutical company
serving the MS community worldwide.
During our discussion,
I mentioned to Mat an ongoing concern that there is lack of awareness
for financial assistance programs in the US to help patients access
treatments. I am pleased to see that Biogen’s press release regarding
Plegridy’s approval clearly references Biogen’s patient support
programs, including financial support, available through MS ActiveSource.
[Disclaimer: I have served as a patient advisor to Biogen in recent
years reviewing educational and support materials developed for MS
Visit PLEGRIDY.com for complete prescribing information. MS ActiveSource is available via phone (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET) at 1-800-456-2255 or via web at MSActiveSource.com.
Read this post in its entirety:
11th MS Disease-Modifying Drug Approved in the US