Hope in the life of the Covid Pandemic - a New MS treatment approved by the FDA

These last five months have been stressful on the world, let alone those at risk of contracting Covid-19.  But in light of it all there have been some shining news that should be recognized in our news today. 

The Federal Drug Agency (FDA) has approved another new disease modifying therapy (DMT) for relapsing forms of MS!  

ZEPOSIA® (ozanimod), produced by Bristol Myers Squibb was approved and is available for use specifically in the United States. I was able to sit down with Dr. Jacqueline Nicholas, a neurologist and MS expert from Columbus, Ohio, to discuss this new drug and what it means to those living with MS.  

Dr. Jacqueline A. Nicholas, MD, MPH, System Chief Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis, OhioHealth Multiple Sclerosis Center is a board-certified clinical neuroimmunologist specializing in multiple sclerosis (MS) and spasticity. 


Dr. Nicholas shares tips and tricks to talking with Doctors and finding the best disease modifying treatment for you:





Over one million people in the U.S. live with multiple sclerosis - or “MS” - an unpredictable and sometimes disabling disease that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body. And the prices of DMT’s are reaching new heights.  This one actually comes in less than the others, seems like we need to take a closer look. 

 


With 85% of patients initially diagnosed with relapsing forms of MS, ongoing treatment is critical to addressing this devastating neurological disease. Each person can respond differently to MS medications, which is why having treatment options is so important. 


Recently, ZEPOSIA® (ozanimod), a new oral therapy, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease.


What will it cost?

  • The 30-day wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of ZEPOSIA will be $86,000, which is the lowest of other MS medications in its class.
How does this compare to other DMT’s available on the market today?  
  • ·    Based on WAC prices as of March 2020, oral DMT costs on an annual basis for approved RMS treatments are as follows:[i]

    o    Mavenclad (variable by weight) $107.5

    o    Gilenya (0.5 mg) $103.9

    o    Tecfidera (240 mg) $99.3

    o    Mayzent (2.0 mg) $92.1

    o    Aubagio (14 mg) $92.0

    o    Vumerity (231 mg) $86.8

     

    “Bristol Myers Squibb is committed to making ZEPOSIA accessible to appropriate patients who need it.”


    o    Through the ZEPOSIA 360 Support™, Bristol Myers Squibb will provide a range of services to facilitate access to ZEPOSIA for appropriate patients with MS. This includes a co-pay of as little as $0 for eligible appropriate patients, assistance with financial support, reimbursement for some initial out-of-pocket medical costs – and a program that may help eligible patients with commercial insurance to receive free medication while they are waiting for insurance approvals. Terms, conditions, and eligibility criteria apply. More information is available at ZEPOSIA.com.

    o  We encourage any families with questions or challenges accessing our medicines to call BMS Access Support at 1-800-861-0048.


    There is a lot more information on their website but this is interesting about insurance: 


    What insurance coverage do you expect?

    • We anticipate that 65% of the patients in the US will be commercially insured patients, while the remaining 35% will be government insured patients.

    ·         We have a co-pay assistance program that will cover 100% of out-of-pocket costs for any and all commercially insured patients, which means that around 65% of patients on ZEPOSIA will have a $0 co-pay.


    ______


    It’s important to talk with your doctor and/or MS specialist. Find a treatment that works with you and your goals.  There are many options these days!    


    Time to say #takeTHATms!


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