The Australian government has today announced that new MS medication Lemtrada® (alemtuzumab) will be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1st April 2015.
Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) was previously approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in December 2013 for use as a first line therapy option for people with relapsing remitting MS who have active disease. Lemtrada is not recommended for patients with mild or inactive disease or those who are stable on their current therapy.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended Lemtradafor PBS listing in November 2014. Today the Government announced that the treatment had passed final approval and will be available for prescription on the 1st April 2015, for individuals with relapsing-remitting MS who meet specific criteria.
Lemtrada has an administration schedule of two annual treatment courses. The first treatment course of Lemtrada is administered via intravenous (IV) infusion on five consecutive days, and the second course is administered on three consecutive days, 12 months later.
As people with MS respond differently to treatments and the side-effect profiles of drugs differ, a wider range of treatment choices is a vital development. MS Research Australia welcomes new treatments that have undergone rigorous clinical testing as a way of giving people living with MS more options in reducing the impact of the disease on their lives.
Dr Matthew Miles, Chief Executive Officer, MS Research Australia welcomed the new treatment option soon to be available for Australians living with relapsing-remitting MS.
‘MS research and development has come a long way in the past decade. MS is a chronic, unpredictable disease which affects patients in many different ways and thus requires a tailored treatment approach. To have an additional treatment option, such as Lemtrada, available on the PBS is great news for Australians living with MS,’ he said.
Please see our previous articles New study supports long-term efficacy of lemtrada and Two clinical trials of intravenous treatment alemtuzumab show encouraging results for more information on the evidence for efficacy and side effects of Lemtrada.
See here for the media release from Genzyme.
Individuals with MS should discuss treatment options with their neurologist, and further information can also be obtained through your state MS society: