However, a Slightly Higher Percentage of Surveyed MCO Pharmacy Directors Selected Humira Over Enbrel As the Most Efficacious Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy, According to Findings from Decision Resources
BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Decision Resources, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that virtually the same percentage of surveyed rheumatologists selected Amgen/Pfizer/Takeda’s Enbrel (43 percent) and Abbott/Eisai’s Humira (42 percent) as the most efficacious agent for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The shrinking gap in the percentage of surveyed rheumatologists who favor Enbrel over Humira in terms of efficacy suggests that Humira is threatening Enbrel’s sales-leading position in rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, physicians continue to regard Enbrel as the agent with the best overall clinical profile, owing to the strength of its perceived safety and tolerability advantages over Humira.
The findings from Decision Resources’ analysis of the rheumatoid arthritis drug market also reveal that a slightly higher percentage of surveyed managed care organizations’ (MCOs) pharmacy directors selected Humira (50 percent) over Enbrel (40 percent) as the most efficacious rheumatoid arthritis agent. In contrast, no surveyed pharmacy directors selected rituximab (Biogen Idec/Roche/Chugai/Zenyaku Kogyo’s Rituxan, Roche’s MabThera) or tocilizumab (Roche/Chugai’s Actemra/RoActemra) as the most efficacious agent for the indication. The prescription of both agents is restricted primarily to patients who are refractory to treatment with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors.
“Rheumatologists’ perceptions of tocilizumab’s efficacy are likely influenced by the drug’s infrequent use, given its recent launch in 2010 and less-favorable tier positioning, as well as payer-imposed cost-control measures,” said Decision Resources Analyst Irene Koulinska, M.D. “Although tocilizumab has demonstrated efficacy in clinical trails comparable to that of the TNF-alpha inhibitors, less familiarity with the agent is the likely driver behind the low number of surveyed rheumatologists who selected it as having the best efficacy or best overall clinical profile among currently available therapies.”
The findings also reveal that, based on clinical data and the opinions of interviewed thought leaders, Enbrel is the current gold-standard therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, due to its strongest clinical profile among key marketed agents for the indication. However, owing to its competitive advantages in safety and tolerability, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s subcutaneous formulation of Orencia will displace Enbrel and will earn Decision Resources’ proprietary clinical gold-standard status for rheumatoid arthritis in 2014, following its expected launch for the indication later this year.
Over the next decade, the rheumatoid arthritis drug market will experience modest annual growth as sales will increase from $8.8 billion in 2009 to $12 billion in 2019 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Japan. In 2009, sales of the TNF-alpha inhibitors accounted for 75 percent of major-market sales as they continue to dominate as first-line biological agents but as the number of effective alternative biologics and novel oral immunomodulators increases, the market share of TNF-alpha inhibitors will fall by 2019. The interleukin-6 inhibitor Actemra/RoActemra, the most recent novel entrant to the rheumatoid arthritis market, is forecast to emerge as the preferred biologic for TNF-alpha-refractory patients and will earn blockbuster sales of $1.5 billion in 2019.
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