Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that significant reimbursement limitations for biologic agents, including Centocor's Remicade (infliximab), are constraining growth in the drug market to treat Crohn's disease.
The new Pharmacor report Crohn's Disease finds that third-party payers in both the United States and Europe impose significant limitations on the use of biologics to treat the disease. One of the limitations in most of the major pharmaceutical markets is that patients must fail to respond to at least two conventional therapies, such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, before receiving treatment with a biological agent. As a result, only a small percentage of Crohn's disease patients will be treated with biologics during the 2005-2015 forecast period.
"In Europe, for example, although regulators recently approved Remicade for second-line use in treating Crohn's disease, raising the possibility for expanded use of the drug in earlier stages of treatment, it remains to be seen whether national health care systems will alter reimbursement policies in response to the expanded labeling," said Decision Resources Therapeutic Area Director Cindy Mundy, Ph.D. "And while most patients in the United States can receive Remicade because it is either mostly or fully covered by Medicare and private insurers, co-payments have risen in recent years, leaving some people unable to afford this expensive biological agent."
The report also finds that because many agents in the Crohn's disease market are older, off-patent drugs that are available as relatively inexpensive generics, the price of these therapies will decline in several markets over the forecast period as a result of continued generic erosion. These off-patent drugs include GlaxoSmithKline/Prometheus's Imuran/Imurel/Imurek, Tanabe's Azanin, and GlaxoSmithKline's Purinethol.
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