FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin

Study: Teva's Copaxone the Better Treatment Option for MS

April 24, 2007

Teva Pharmaceutical's multiple sclerosis (MS) agent Copaxone is a better treatment for patients with relapsing-remitting MS compared with interferon beta drug products, a recent study found.

The study, published in the April 13 Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy and funded by Teva subsidiary Teva Neuroscience, assessed five MS treatment strategies — symptom management alone (physical therapy and pharmacological treatment such as corticosteroids), or symptom management in combination with either Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), EMD Serono's Rebif (interferon beta-1a), Bayer Schering's Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) or Biogen Idec's Avonex (interferon beta-1a).

"Overall, the model indicated that patients on [Copaxone] experienced greater cost benefits compared with patients on any of the three beta-interferons," Christopher Bell, a healthcare economist with RTI Health Solutions and study co-author, wrote. It was "the best strategy in terms of outcomes and costs."

According to the study, the incremental costs per quality-adjusted life year for Copaxone, Avonex, Betaseron and Rebif were $258,465, $303,968, $310,691 and $416,301, respectively, compared with symptom management alone.

In response to the study, Bayer said that "interferon beta treatments remain recognized as a cornerstone for treating relapsing-remitting MS." An October 2006 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality cost-effectiveness study concluded that Betaseron was at least two times more cost effective per quality-adjusted life-year gained than Copaxone, Bayer said.