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Updates on the next PBAC meeting: modified interferon beta being considered, and Lemtrada resubmission

A modified version of Interferon-beta1a, recently approved for the treatment of relapsing remitting MS by both the European Medicines Agency and the USA Food and Drug Authority, is currently being considered for approval in Australia.

Known as Plegridy (PEGylated Interferon-beta 1a), the new medication breaks down much more slowly in the body meaning injections can be given less frequently.

The results of a phase III randomised placebo-controlled trial of PEGylated Interferon-beta 1a published earlier this year in the journal Lancet Neurology showed that Plegridy was effective in reducing the annualised relapse rate by approximately 36% for those treated every 2 weeks compared to those in the placebo group, and may also have benefits for reducing lesion load as measured by MRI. For more information about the actions and side effects of Plegridy, please see our earlier article.

Plegridy is scheduled for consideration at the November meeting of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, for inclusion on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) welcomes comments from any individual regarding the inclusion of Plegridy on the PBS. For more information and to submit your comments please click here.

At the same PBAC meeting in November, the recently approved Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab) has been scheduled for a minor resubmission for further discussion on the pricing scheme. Once this submission has been finalised, Lemtrada must then receive final approval by the Federal Government before the product can be subsidised on the PBS and made publicly available.

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Updates on the next PBAC meeting: modified interferon beta being considered, and Lemtrada resubmission