Treatment delivered in only two cycles one year apart
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 6, 2018 /CNW/ - Sanofi Genzyme, the specialty business unit of sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., today announced that British Columbia (BC) PharmaCare has added LEMTRADA® (alemtuzumab) to the PharmaCare Formulary, for the management of adult patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), with active disease defined by clinical and imaging features, who have had an inadequate response to interferon beta or other disease-modifying therapies.1
BC now joins the list of many other provinces, including Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, in making the treatment available to patients 18 years or older who meet specific criteria.
"We are thrilled to hear that BC is joining the majority of Canadian provinces by offering LEMTRADA® as a treatment option to help people living with relapsing-remitting MS manage their disease," says Tania Vrionis, President of the MS Society of Canada, British Columbia and Yukon Division. "Adding LEMTRADA® to the list of approved therapies will help to make a difference in the lives of those who may choose this option. The MS Society of Canada encourages those who might be considering this treatment option to speak with their healthcare team."
"I am so happy to hear that LEMTRADA® will now be publicly funded for British Columbians living with RRMS. Seeking this therapy was the right decision for me and I am glad that others can now consider this an option to help manage their disease," says Chris Mann, MS patient in Victoria, BC. "Following my treatments with LEMTRADA®, I am now able to get back to my photography and the rest of my life, because I am more than my MS."
Approved in Canada in December 2013, LEMTRADA® is indicated for the management of adult patients with RRMS, defined by clinical factors and imaging results, who have had an inadequate response to interferon beta or other disease-modifying therapies.1
"We've been treating MS patients in BC with LEMTRADA® for close to a decade through our clinical trials research program at UBC. This is a game changer for many patients, especially those who have the more aggressive forms of the disease," says Dr. Anthony Traboulsee, MS Society of Canada Research Chair, Director, MS and NMO Clinic - Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, Co-Director, Clinical Trials and Research Programs. "I am very pleased to see LEMTRADA® added to the PharmaCare list. This is an excellent option for more patients with relapsing-remitting MS."
"LEMTRADA® is a new medication with proven efficacy based on several clinical trials. For the right RRMS patient, this will be a very useful therapy and I am pleased that those living in British Columbia can now have access to this treatment," says Dr. Virginia Devonshire, head of the University of British Columbia Hospital MS Clinic."
LEMTRADA® is delivered in two annual treatment courses, with the first given over five days in year one, and the second over three days in year two. As patients require monitoring at regular intervals between treatment courses and for 48 months following the final infusion, Sanofi Genzyme provides comprehensive and free patient support through its MS One to One™ program.
"Today marks a special day for those living with RRMS in BC. We laud the news that the BC government is offering LEMTRADA® to eligible patients. In addition to the potential cost-savings for the government, patients can now access the transformative potential of this treatment should they need it," saysPeter Brenders, General Manager, for Sanofi Genzyme Canada.
LEMTRADA® is a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins which bind to a unique site (called an antigen) on cells. LEMTRADA® binds to an antigen, called CD52, which is present at high levels on certain cells of the immune system. LEMTRADA® works on the immune system so that it may not attack the nervous system as much.2
The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation's 2013 Atlas of MS reported that Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world with 291 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Denmark (227), Sweden (189), Hungary (176), Cyprus (175) and the U.K. (164).3
MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibers. It is unpredictable and can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. Its effects can be physical, emotional and financial.4
MS can occur at any age, but is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 40, peak years for education, career- and family-building. MS has been diagnosed in children as young as two years old – and in far older adults. MS is three times as likely to occur in women as in men and is more common in people of northern European background.4
LEMTRADA® is a registered trademark of Genzyme Corporation. All rights reserved.
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