Mayzent (siponimod) the first MS medication approved in Australia and shown to be effective in secondary progressive MS has now been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means the government will subside the cost of this medication for Australians with secondary progressive MS. The Federal Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt, announced that from the 1st November 2020, Mayzent will be listed on the PBS.
Mayzent is an oral treatment in the same class as a previously approved medication for relapsing remitting MS, fingolimod (tradename- Gilenya). It acts by targeting immune cells and preventing them from moving into the areas of inflammation in MS (the brain and spinal cord).
Secondary progressive MS clinical trials of Mayzent showed a reduction in disability progression when compared to a mock treatment (placebo). People were treated for up to three years and disability progression was tracked every three months. The results showed that Mayzent reduced disability progression, slowed brain tissue loss (atrophy), and reduced the number of new lesions in some people (see our article here).
In a joint submission with MS Australia, MS Research Australia advocated for Mayzent’s inclusion on the PBS. This is a landmark decision, as the first treatment to be subsidised for use in secondary progressive MS, providing affordable access to this therapy in Australia.
“This is wonderful news for Australians living with secondary progressive MS”, said Dr Julia Morahan, Head of Research at MS Research Australia, “This is a significant milestone in the treatment of this form of MS for Australians and we welcome the inclusion of Mayzent on the PBS”.
It is important that individuals with MS discuss any new treatment options with their neurologist as Mayzent is not suitable for everyone.