Pharmaceutical Pipeline Features New Wave of Multiple Sclerosis Drugs

The specialty market has experienced a significant rate of growth as well as increased costs over the past few years thanks to a broader use of specialty medications to treat common and rare diseases.

The specialty market has experienced a significant rate of growth as well as increased costs over the past few years thanks to a broader use of specialty medications to treat common and rare diseases. Some medications will drastically improve health outcomes while others may provide a smaller benefit with the potential for adverse effects and financial burden. It is important for managed care pharmacists to understand how new specialty medications will continue to expand the specialty market.

At this year’s Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) 24th Annual Meeting, Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, Senior Clinical Consultant, Emerging Therapeutics, Express Scripts, Inc, gave an overview of the specialty market trends and top drugs in the pipeline in her presentation “Specialty Pharmaceuticals Pipeline Update.”

The US Food and Drug Administration’s new drug approval rates from 2008 to 2011 and the rate of increase from traditional to specialty drugs were compared. Multiple sclerosis (MS), gout, inflammatory conditions, cancer, HIV, hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, and others were highlighted. Dr Tharaldson indicated that the MS pipeline trend will include more oral disease-modifying drugs, an expanded MS use for currently marketed drugs, as well as new therapies for secondary progressive MS. Sanofi, Biogen Idec, Active Biotech/Teva, Genzyme, Sandoz/Momenta, AB Science, and Opexa are among those pharmaceutical companies expected to launch MS drugs in 2012 through 2015.

Currently marketed drugs Lemtrada (Genzyme) and Zenapax (Blogen Idec/Abbott) will both expand into MS with a focus on relapsing-remitting MS. The significant development in the oral cancer drug pipeline has led to more targeted therapies and vaccines, as well as a focus on niche or orphan cancer types.

For more information on this and other sessions, please visit www.amcp.org.