Biogen Idec has announced that their new injectable medication PLEGRIDY (peginterferon beta-1a) will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for treatment of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis from March 1.
Plegridy is a sub-cutaneous injection treatment with a slow-release agent which means less frequent dosing. Doses are administered once a fortnight. During clinical trials, Plegridy has been shown to have comparable effectiveness to the currently available interferon beta-1a agents, helping to reduce the annualised relapse rate compared to placebo by approximately 36% for those treated every two weeks.
MS Australia CEO Debra Cerasa welcomed the news and said the listing of Plegridy on the PBS is a positive step for the MS community.
“No two cases of MS are the same and one of the things we often hear is it can take quite some time for people with MS to find a treatment option that best suits their needs,” Ms Cerasa said.
“That’s why it is good to hear that more treatments will be made available at an affordable price. It gives people with MS and their neurologist greater flexibility to find a treatment option that is right for them.”
Ms Cerasa said Plegridy joins a number of other subsidised MS treatments now available in Australia.
“Ten years ago there were very few subsidised treatment options for people with MS in Australia. We’ve come a long way in a short space of time and it is pleasing to see that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recognises that having more treatment options available allows people with MS to better manage their symptoms and to maintain important parts of their lifestyle for longer like employment, exercise and socialising with family and friends.”
MS Australia advises people with MS to discuss treatment options with their neurologist. If you wish to know more about Plegridy you can download this .
Our colleagues at MS Research Australia have also published this article on Plegridy with links to full clinical trial information.