More Rheumatologists Prefer Switching to a Biologic with an Alternative Mechanism of Action Following an Initial TNF-Alpha

EXTON, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Rheumatologists are initiating biologics, particularly the established TNF-alpha inhibitors, earlier in the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment continuum compared to one year ago, according to a recent report by BioTrends Research Group. Usage of the newer TNF-alpha inhibitors (UCB’s Cimzia and Centocor Ortho Biotech’s Simponi) and biologics with alternative mechanisms of action (Bristol Myers Squibb’s Orencia and Genentech-Roche’s Actemra and Rituxan) continues to expand at the expense of the established TNF-alpha inhibitors. In this wave of research, significantly more rheumatologists stated their preference to switch to a biologic agent with an alternative mechanism of action following an initial TNF-alpha inhibitor failure compared to six months ago.

However, biologic agents with alternative mechanisms of action and the newer TNF-alpha inhibitors are perceived as less efficacious and less safe compared to the established TNF-alpha inhibitors. Actemra is uniquely differentiated on certain efficacy attributes, which are emphasized in Genentech-Roche’s marketing campaign, but is still perceived as less efficacious than the established TNF-alpha inhibitors on core competency (‘cost of entry’) attributes. Rheumatologists had the least favorable perceptions of Genentech-Roche sales representatives compared to all other competitors based on several sales force efficiency metrics.

Amgen/Pfizer’s Enbrel and Abbott Labs’ Humira remain the preferred first- and second-line biologic agents, respectively, among rheumatologists for the treatment of RA. However, surveyed rheumatologists project significantly lower RA patient share for both agents in the next six months. Among rheumatologists who use Cimzia and Simponi, as many as one-third of their RA patients who are initiated on these newer TNF-alpha inhibitors are biologic-naïve. The majority of rheumatologists report that they received samples of the subcutaneous-administered TNF-alpha inhibitors in the last month. Sampling has had a very positive and significant impact on physician prescribing for some biologic agents but a negligible impact for others.

TreatmentTrends®: Rheumatoid Arthritis is a quarterly report series that covers the use of biologics for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The report focuses on current and future use of biologic agents, patient market share, perceived strengths and weaknesses of the key brands, barriers to broader usage, sales force performance and perceived value of manufacturers’ patient assistance programs. The Q1 2011 wave is based on a survey fielded in February with 101 US rheumatologists.

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BioTrends Research Group, LLC
Sharon Funk, 404-223-2963
[email protected]
Decision Resources, Inc.
Christopher Comfort, 781-993-2597
[email protected]

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