Educational Support Service for Multiple Sclerosis Community Provides a Voice at the Other End
ROCKLAND, Mass. and NEW YORK, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced today that MS LifeLines, an educational and support service which includes a call center, has achieved a milestone in servicing one million in-bound calls since its inception in 2002. MS LifeLines is sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc. an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer Inc. The service is available to the multiple sclerosis (MS) community, including people living with MS, their families and care partners.
"As an organization working to deliver innovative solutions, we are pleased to be able to provide our programs and services to the MS community and to continue to enhance all of our offerings," said Fereydoun Firouz, president and chief executive officer of EMD Serono, Inc. "We are proud of our long-standing heritage in serving the MS community, and reaching the one million call milestone is another demonstration of our long-term commitment in MS."
"MS LifeLines is making a difference in the lives of people living with MS," said Paul Richardson, regional president, North America, Pfizer Specialty Care. "This service stands as another example of EMD Serono and Pfizer's commitment to serving the patient communities and advancing treatments for serious diseases."
MS LifeLines was first launched in 2002 as an educational resource for the MS community, sponsored by EMD Serono and Pfizer. One of its service offerings is a call center based in EMD Serono's corporate headquarters in Rockland, Mass. The call center includes patient enrollment specialists, patient support specialists, nurse support specialists and reimbursement specialists. People in the MS community can call any time, day or night and receive assistance. A live representative is available to answer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Whether a person calls with a question about therapy or a question related to their insurance, the team at MS LifeLines is here to help lend a hand," added Lauren Sweeney, patient support team member at MS LifeLines. "It is extremely rewarding to be able to make a difference. Receiving a diagnosis of MS can be overwhelming, and we're here to help serve as a resource for the entire MS community."
The programs and services provided by MS LifeLines continue to be enhanced to meet the needs of individuals impacted by MS and their loved ones. A patient access program, MS LifeLines Access Made Simple, was designed to assist eligible patients who need help in getting on therapy quickly. To learn more about the Access Made Simple program, visit www.mslifelines.com. In addition, other innovative service offerings have been introduced including MS LifeLines Rx. This web-based prescribing tool allows physicians to have access to another prescribing option instead of the paper process. For more information on the programs and services offered by MS LifeLines, visit mslifelines.com.
In the US, EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc., co-promote Rebif (interferon beta-1a) for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
About MS LifeLines®
MS LifeLines is an educational support service committed to the MS community. Our mission is to offer support to people with MS, people on or considering Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) therapy, and the care partners who support them. The web site, www.mslifelines.com, provides information on everything from personal stories to lifestyle tips. MS LifeLines also offers telephone support toll free at 1-877-447-3243.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that there are approximately 400,000 people in the United States living with MS.
While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.
Rebif is the only self-administered disease-modifying drug proven effective in reducing MRI lesion area and activity, reducing the frequency of relapses and slowing disability in relapsing MS.+ Rebif is not approved for the treatment of chronic progressive MS.
+The exact correlation between MRI findings and the current or future clinical status of patients, including disability progression, is unknown.
Rebif is used to treat relapsing forms of MS to decrease the frequency of relapses and delay the occurrence of some of the physical disability that is common in people with MS. Rebif is not approved for treatment of chronic progressive MS. Rebif is available in 22 mcg and 44 mcg prefilled, preassembled syringes and a titration pack by prescription only.
Before beginning treatment, patients should discuss with their doctor the potential benefits and risks associated with Rebif. Let your doctor know if you have a history of depression, seizures, liver disease, thyroid problems, or blood cell count or bleeding problems, or if you have had previous allergic reactions to medications. Tell your doctor about all medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Rebif and other medicines may affect each other causing serious side effects. Talk to your doctor before you take any new medicines. Rebif is not recommended for women who are or plan to become pregnant.
Potential serious side effects of Rebif include depression and risk of suicide, liver problems, risk to pregnancy, injection-site problems, and severe allergic reactions. Allergic reactions are rare and may be associated with difficulty in breathing and loss of consciousness, which require immediate medical attention.
The most common side effects with Rebif are injection-site reactions, flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness), depression, abdominal pain, increased liver enzymes, and blood cell count decreases. Let your doctor know if you have any of these symptoms or feel sad, tired, hot or cold, or experience hives, rashes, bruising, yellowing of the skin, or a change in body weight (gain or loss).
This information is not intended to replace discussions with your doctor. For additional information about Rebif, please consult the Prescribing Information and Medication Guide at www.emdserono.com and talk to your doctor. You can also visit www.mslifelines.com or call toll-free 1-877-44-REBIF (1-877-447-3243). Rebif is available by prescription only.
About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono, Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leader in the US biopharmaceutical arena, integrating cutting-edge science with unparalleled patient support systems to improve people's lives. The company has strong market positions in neurodegenerative diseases, with Rebif® (interferon beta-1a), as well as in endocrinology, with Saizen® (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection) and Serostim® (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection). EMD Serono is a leader in reproductive health, with Gonal-f® (follitropin alfa for injection), Luveris® (lutropin alfa for injection) and Ovidrel® Prefilled Syringe (choriogonadotropin alfa injection). In addition, EMD Serono is growing its expertise and presence in the area of oncology, with more than 10 projects currently in development. With a clear focus on the patient and a leadership presence in the biopharmaceutical industry, EMD Serono's US footprint continues to grow, with more than 1100 employees around the country and fully integrated commercial, clinical and research operations in the company's home state of Massachusetts.
For more information, please visit www.emdserono.com.
About Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world™
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines for people and animals. Our diversified global health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as the world's leading biopharmaceutical company, we also collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.
To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.
About Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of euro 7.7 billion in 2009, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 40,000 (including EMD Millipore) employees in 64 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.
SOURCE Pfizer Inc.