Genzyme, a Sanofi company with over 30 years of dedication to researching and developing novel treatments for rare and orphan diseases, has just announced the Alberta Drug Program has finally decided to include Aubagio® (teriflunomide) 14mg in the provincial drug formulary, indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Alberta, Canada has one of the highest rates of MS worldwide, with over 14,000 residents diagnosed with some form of this neurodegenerative, autoimmune disease. Now, more Albertans with MS can gain access to Aubagio, a novel, orally stable drug capable of reducing exacerbations and delaying the development of physical disabilities.
Aubagio was first approved in Canada in November of 2013. While the drug’s exact mechanism of action as an immunomodulator and anti-inflammatory is not known, it is thought to greatly reduce the amount of harmful lymphocytes that attack the protective myelin sheath. The drug has performed impressively in over 5,000 study participants across 36 countries, with patients in extension trials still benefitting from the treatment even 10 years later.
“It is great news that Alberta will now provide access to a new, oral and highly tolerable first-line agent for relapse reduction for patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis,” said Dr. Jodie Burton, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Community Health Sciences Member, Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary. “Any addition to the treatment arsenal, particularly an oral one, has been the ongoing hope of patients and care providers alike for many years. We appreciate the Albertagovernment’s decision to fund this agent, which will improve our ability to make treatment options available to our patients.”
Neil Pierce, the President of the Alberta and Northwest Territories Division and the national Vice President of Government Relations of the MS Society of Canada, noted that the society is pleased the province is committed to improving the lives of the many Albertans affected by MS. It was only last year that the provincial government launched “The Way Forward: Alberta’s Multiple Sclerosis Partnership,” and now the drug formulary has added a world class breakthrough MS treatment to its coverage.