Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that 89 percent of surveyed rheumatologists anticipate prescribing Roche/Chugai's Actemra, following the expected launch of the drug for rheumatoid arthritis in 2009. Surveyed rheumatologists indicated they would prescribe Actemra, an interleukin-6 inhibitor, to an estimated 10 percent of their patients six months after the drug's launch. On July 29, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration's Arthritis Advisory Committee recommended Actemra's approval for rheumatoid arthritis. Although some panel members expressed concern about data that suggested the potential for negative side effects, the committee indicated that clinical trials supported Actemra's efficacy.

The new Physician & Payer Forum report, Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Physician and Payer Perspective on Recently Launched and Emerging Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis, finds that rheumatologists are highly receptive to the many new agents expected to launch by 2011, but they may face increasing barriers to reimbursement and limited access to novel biological agents.

In addition to Actemra, the other emerging biologic agents included in the report survey are UCB's Cimzia, Centocor/Schering-Plough/Mitsubishi Tanabe/Janssen's golimumab and Biogen Idec/Genentech/Roche's ocrelizumab. The report finds that managed care organizations' (MCO) pharmacy directors disagree on the likelihood of formulary inclusion for key emerging biologics as their expectations varied widely in response to whether they will include these agents on their formularies. Pharmacy directors may be reserving judgment on key biologic agents until more clinical data becomes available.

Nevertheless, surveyed rheumatologists remain steadfast in their preference for TNF-alpha inhibitors over other biologic agents for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Ninety-nine of 100 surveyed rheumatologists reported prescribing TNF-alpha inhibitors as first-line biologic therapy for the disease.

"Most rheumatologists expect the dominance of TNF-alpha inhibitors to continue, and possibly expand, over the next two years," said Cindy Mundy, Ph.D., director at Decision Resources. "The upcoming launches of Cimzia and golimumab will increase the number of TNF-alpha inhibitors approved for rheumatoid arthritis from three to five. Following the launches of Cimzia and golimumab, nearly half of surveyed rheumatologists expect to prescribe three or more TNF-alpha inhibitors before moving to a different class of agents."

Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Physician and Payer Perspective on Recently Launched and Emerging Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis is based on a U.S. survey of 100 rheumatologists and 20 MCO pharmacy directors. Their responses were compared to assess similarities and differences of opinion regarding clinical, economic and scientific factors.

About Physician & Payer Forum

Physician & Payer Forum is a primary research service from Decision Resources that offers access to high volume-prescribing physicians, specialists, and managed care organization representatives in the United States; analysis of events and survey participants' responses to them; insight into prescribing patterns; and an examination of the implications of events and issues for the pharmaceutical market.

About Decision Resources

Decision Resources (www.decisionresources.com) is a world leader in market research publications, advisory services, and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets.

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

  For more information, contact:   Elizabeth Marshall   Decision Resources, Inc.   781-296-2563   emarshall@dresources.com 

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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc.,
+1-781-296-2563, emarshall@dresources.com

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