Sunday, August 17, 2014

Plegridy Available in the US

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.

In 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 patients.]

Visit 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

Read this post in its entirety:
11th MS Disease-Modifying Drug Approved in the US

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