Ontario MS Patient Supports Newly Diagnosed Patients to Overcome Disease Hurdles

    - Majority of Patients Experience Anxiety, Frustration and Discomfort
    with Needles and Injections, Survey Reveals -

    TORONTO, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - Leona Bromley, an Ontario resident who has lived
12 years with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), understands the disease fears and
treatment barriers that come with a MS diagnosis. One of her biggest concerns
was dealing with the burden of regular injections of medication. A recent
North American patient survey appears to support that not a lot has changed.
The survey reports that the majority of patients (56 per cent) have at least
one barrier about injections that makes them uncomfortable; most often cited
was the length of a needle (33 per cent), followed by the thickness (31 per
cent).(1) In addition, anxiety was the most common negative emotion around
injections (61 per cent).
    Now Leona is sharing her story with other Ontario patients to encourage
them to be "inject-able."
    "As early diagnosis and treatment is key to long-term treatment success,
it's important to learn how to overcome these common barriers and learn from
people along the way," said Bromley, former president of the Pembroke Chamber
of Commerce and well-known realtor. "My life changed drastically when I was
diagnosed with probable MS and one of the hardest adjustments was injecting
myself with the autoinjectors. Over the years, the injections were very
uncomfortable because I've always had painful injection sites and reactions."

    What MS Patients are Saying

    According to the survey, almost all (97 per cent) people living with MS
are committed to controlling their lifelong condition by any means
necessary.(1) Ninety per cent of people consider the strongest motivator for
starting MS treatment is realizing that it will help slow disease
progression.(1) Patient motivation can be increased by offering solutions to
the barriers, including using the thinnest needle available (70 per cent),
co-pay assistance or other financial support (69 per cent), having a good
injection technique (69 per cent), and using an autoinjector (55 per cent).(1)
    "The data identifies a need for an improved, patient friendly and
effective device that can help patients adhere to therapy, which may translate
to better outcomes," said Dr. S.G. Esmail, F.R.C.P. (C), Assistant Professor
of Neurology at the University of Toronto. "Adherence to effective and
consistent treatment in the early stages is important in the long-term
management of this disabling disease."
    Eighty-two per cent of people surveyed see benefits to using a thinner
needle, including less pain during injection (55 per cent), greater comfort
during injection (54 per cent), less bruising (42 per cent), less pain after
injection (40 per cent), less anxiety immediately before injection (34 per
cent) and less impact on mood when anticipating injections (30 per cent).(1)
    Recently available in Canada, the Betaject Lite autoinjector is the first
device on the market that uses the thinnest needle (30 gauge) of all disease
modifying therapies, resulting in less pain, fewer injection site reactions,
less needle anxiety, and better adherence and long-term outcomes. The Betaject
Lite autoinjector uses BETASERON(R) (interferon beta-1b) therapy. It enhances
adherence, so patients can benefit from BETASERON(R) in delaying progression
of their MS and helping to maintain their quality of life.
    "When I was introduced to the Betaject Lite autoinjector, I thought 'Oh
no, not another autoinjector,' because with the previous ones I had a lot of
injection site reactions," said Bromley. "Finally, someone got it right with
the new Betaject Lite autoinjector. It responds to my needs, it is easy to
use, compact, I have less needle anxiety, less pain, and I don't have skin
reactions any more."
    The survey also determines that nurses play a pivotal role in supporting
and motivating MS patients and helping them cope with the daily challenges of
their disease. Patients also value the advice and tips nurses recommend,
including ways to avoid side effects and injection site reactions (68 per
cent), information on financial assistance (58 per cent), offering a variety
of injection techniques (54 per cent) and helping patients choose proper
rotation of injection sites (49 per cent).(1)
    "It is always important to have new treatment options available to manage
the complexity of this disease in the easiest, most successful way possible,"
said Nathalie Girouard, RN, Therapeutics Nurse, Ottawa Hospital/MS Clinic,
Ottawa, Ontario. "I am confident that the Betaject Lite autoinjector and the
30 gauge needle will help to reduce the negative emotions and anxiety that are
associated with injections, empower MS patients to better adhere to their
medication regimen and take control of their lives."
    "My advice to people who have been newly diagnosed with MS is to have an
action plan in place and take advantage of all the resources that are
available to you," said Bromley. "Talk to your MS nurse, my nurse has been
inspirational in helping me cope with the daily challenges of my disease, and
join a local patient support group because it can help to alleviate fear,
misconceptions and encourage a positive attitude about living with MS."

    About Multiple Sclerosis

    Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world.(2) This is a
common occurrence in countries that are situated further from the equator.(2)
An estimated 55,000 -75,000 Canadians live with MS.(2) It can occur at any age
and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 40.(2) There is no cure for
MS.(2) It is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous
system - the brain and spinal cord.(2) It can cause loss of balance, impaired
speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.(2) In its most common
form, MS has well-defined attacks followed by complete or partial recovery.(2)

    About Betaject Lite Autoinjector

    The Betaject Lite autoinjector is approved by Health Canada. It is simple
to use, convenient and portable. Features include: a thinner needle (30 gauge
instead of the previous 27 gauge); a modern ergonomic design; a built in
safety lock at the firing button to reduce the risk of accidental injections;
a simple loading procedure and small number of handling steps; and a visual
marker that alerts the user when the injection process is over. The Betaject
Lite autoinjector is to be used with a pre-filled diluent syringe that has an
easy to read label, a twist off rubber cap, and larger finger grips and thumb
plate designed to simplify manipulation. The Betaject Lite autoinjector is
made for Bayer Inc.

    About Bayer Inc.

    Bayer Inc. (Bayer) is a Canadian subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international
research-based group with core businesses in health care, crop science, and
innovative materials.
    Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Bayer Inc. operates the Bayer Group's
HealthCare and MaterialScience businesses in Canada. Bayer Crop Science Inc.,
headquartered in Calgary, Alberta operates as a separate legal entity in
Canada. Together, the companies play a vital role in improving the quality of
life for Canadians - producing products that fight diseases, protecting crops
and animals, and developing high-performance materials for applications in
numerous areas of daily life. Canadian Bayer facilities include the Toronto
headquarters and offices in Ottawa and Calgary.
    Bayer Inc. has approximately 1,000 employees across Canada and had sales
of over $986 million CDN in 2007. Globally, the Bayer Group had sales of over
32 billion Euro in 2007. Bayer Inc. invested approximately $45 million CDN in
research and development in 2007. Worldwide, the Bayer Group spent the
equivalent of over 2.5 billion Euro in 2007 in R&D.

    Forward-looking statements

    This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current
assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various
known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to
material differences between the actual future results, financial situation,
development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These
factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available
on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability
whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to
future events or developments.

    (1) Russell Research Survey, 2008
    (2) MS Society of Canada. Website. Available at:

For further information:

For further information: or to set up an interview, please contact:
Mary-Anne Cedrone, Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L), Tel: (416) 847-1342; Emily
Hanft, Bayer Inc., Tel: (416) 240-5434

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