EXTON, Pa.--()--BioTrends Research Group, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that rheumatologists in Germany and Spain indicated they have prescribed GlaxoSmithKline’s Benlysta (belimumab) for their patients, which is the first newly approved agent for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in approximately 50 years. The findings come from the recent, TreatmentTrends®: Lupus EU report in which 198 online physician surveys from the EU5 countries—France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.—were analyzed.
Hydroxychloroquine (Sanofi-Aventis’ Plaquenil, generics) continues to be the most commonly used agent to treat SLE, regardless of disease severity and EU5 country. At the time this study was fielded, Benlysta, the newcomer to the market, was only approved for reimbursement in Germany and Spain. Rheumatologists from both Germany and Spain reported they have prescribed it for both their moderate and severe patients.
Following the presentation of a Benlysta product profile, initial reactions to the product across the EU5 countries tend to be moderate – very few rheumatologists in any country report negative initial reactions. However, most rheumatologists are unsure if the benefits outweigh the risks of the product. Rheumatologists in the U.K. are more likely than rheumatologists in other countries to report the risks of the product outweigh the benefits, whereas specialists from Germany are more likely to believe the benefits outweigh the risks. Interestingly, although the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) gave the opinion that the drug offered no additional benefit over standard of care prior to the time of this study’s fielding, physicians in Germany who have tried Benlysta reported they are moderately satisfied with it. Rheumatologists in Spain also reported this perception. It will be interesting to see what happens in the remaining EU5 countries, if and, when Benlysta receives reimbursement approval.
In addition to the TreatmentTrends®: Lupus EU report BioTrends has a full complement of reports focusing on lupus treatment in the United States: TreatmentTrends®: Lupus U.S., ChartTrends®: Lupus U.S., PatientTrends®: Lupus U.S. and LaunchTrends: Benlysta Wave 4 U.S. (1 year post-launch).
TreatmentTrends®: Lupus EU is an annual, quantitative publication based on online physician surveys with rheumatologists fielded in July 2012 in the EU5 countries.
The primary objectives of the study are to:
- Compare perceptions and differences in the management and treatment of SLE patients across the EU5 countries
- Evaluate the treatment goals of physicians and quantify drug treatment by class/brand, line of therapy and patient type/severity group
- Evaluate physicians’ attitudes and perceptions regarding: the importance of product attributes, performance of existing therapies against these attributes and risk/benefit perceptions
- Identify drivers and barriers to product adoption and usage
- Evaluate the familiarity with and interest in products in late-stage (Phase II/III) development for SLE
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