Ocrevus’ (ocrelizumab’s) market introduction is off to a stellar start, with nearly half of neurologists surveyed by Spherix Global Insights saying they are using the therapy — the first ever approved for both relapsing and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).
Within six months, 80 percent of neurologists are expected to prescribe Ocrevus, according to a report in the second-quarter edition of RealTime Dynamix: Multiple Sclerosis by Spherix Global Insights.
But insurance is having an increasing impact on treatment decisions, the report also found, according to a Spherix press release. More patients are receiving less than optimal care because of inadequate or inferior insurance coverage, and neurologists report that insurers have become more aggressive in managing MS patients.
Surveying 104 neurologists in June, the report showed that physicians followed through with their intent — reported in earlier surveys — to prescribe Ocrevus as it became available.
With Ocrevus being the first approved drug for primary progressive MS, these patients make up a sizable part of those receiving it. But patients with relapsing forms of MS represent more than half of new users, according to the report.
Ocrevus was also, by far, the drug that neurologists had learned most about, and felt most excited about using, the report added.
Most of the patients on Ocrevus were switched from Biogen‘s Tysabri (natalizumab) or Rituxan (rituximab) — a drug that, like Ocrevus, is also produced by Genentech/Roche. One in five patients was switched from an oral disease-modifying treatment, mainly Biogen’s Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate).
But for about 25 percent of Ocrevus-treated patients, the drug is the first disease-modifying therapy they have received.
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