British Columbia’s PharmaCare drug program has announced that it will fund AUBAGIO, a therapy developed by Genzyme for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. AUBAGIO (teriflunomide) 14 mg has been officially added to PharmaCare’s provincial formulary as a first-line oral agent for patients suffering from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
As an immunomodulator with anti-inflammatory properties, AUBAGIO is specially indicated for RRMS and has been proven effective in the reduction and frequency of clinical exacerbations due to MS, as well as in delaying the progression of physical disability. The monotherapy was approved in Canada in November of last year, and even though its mechanism has not been completely understood, Aubagio is able to decrease the amount of activated lymphocytes in the central nervous system (CNS).
“We are pleased to have an additional therapy available to us in the treatment of MS. Having access to this new oral therapy will allow us to tailor our treatment to our patients’ needs. We are grateful to the provincial drug program in BC for approving access to this therapy in 1st line,” said Virginia Devonshire, who is a Clinical Assistant Professor Neurology at the UBC.
Genzyme’s development of AUBAGIO included a clinical program that involved more than 5,000 trial participants in 36 different countries. Moreover, the company has also studied the progression of patients who were treated in extension trials for up to 10 years, and the researchers demonstrated that the therapeutic’s benefits have extended throughout the duration of the treatment.
“It is important that British Columbians living with MS are able to access the full range of treatment options in consultation with their healthcare team,” added the President of the MS Society, BC & Yukon Division, Tania Vrionis. “The availability of therapies that can be administered orally — especially as ‘first line options’ — is a welcome development. The MS Society is pleased that the provincial government continues to provide coverage of MS treatments in a timely manner.”
The therapy is another step toward improving the lives of the approximately 100,000 Canadians who suffer from MS. In Canada, which has one of the highest prevalence rates of the disease worldwide, three people are diagnosed with MS each day. In addition, since RRMS is commonly diagnosed in patients while they are in their twenties and thirties, the disease has become a common neurological condition that strikes young adults.
“We applaud the Government of British Columbia’s decision to make AUBAGIO available to patients suffering from RRMS. With its once-a-day oral regimen, this will provide patients an alternative to injectables,” stated the General Manager at Genzyme Canada, Peter Brenders.
Genzyme has been widely engaged in providing better treatment options for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, and in addition to AUBAGIO, the company has created a program with comprehensive information services, ongoing education and reimbursement navigation, called MS One to One. Through a staff of MS nurses and highly trained representatives, the program is meant to support not only patients, but also healthcare providers, families and loved ones.
In addition, the company has launched an awareness campaign, called Lights, Camera, Take Action of MS starring the actress of “Revenge” Madeleine Stowe. The campaign includes several live events, including in Orlando, Florida on January 24, 2015, and in Houston, Texas on February 7, 2015.