Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, said Wednesday the Ministry of Health and Welfare has decided to provide insurance benefits for Tremfya, a treatment for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, from Saturday.
Tremfya is the first approved biologic therapy that selectively binds to the p19 subunit of interleukin 23 (IL-23) and inhibits its interaction with the IL-23 receptor. After administering 100 mg as a starter dose during the first and fourth week, patients should administer the 100 mg of the treatment once every eight weeks.
The ministry will reimburse the therapy to patients over the age of 18 suffering from severe chronic psoriasis for six months or longer and have 10 percent or more body surface area affected by plaque psoriasis.
It also will provide insurance benefits to patients who have a psoriasis area and severity index (PASI) score of 10 or more and inadequate or intolerance to methotrexate, cyclosporine, ultraviolet A (PUVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy after three months.
Results from two phase 3 clinical trials, which included more than 2,000 randomized patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, showed that 80 percent of patients treated with Tremfya were either cleared or almost cleared in 16 weeks. The company noted that the condition continued for nearly two years.
The treatment also showed a significant effect on the improvement of skin lesions when compared with the adalimumab-treated group. In the “Voyage 1” study, the PASI 100 response rate and the percentage of patients who reached the investigator’s global assessment (IGA) score of 0 for completely cleansed skin lesions was 1.5 times higher for Tremfya, with 44.4 and 52.6 percent, respectively, than for adalimumab (24.9 and 29.3 percent) at week 24.
At week 16, following three injections of Tremfya and 10 injections of adalimumab, a significantly higher proportion of patients receiving Tremfya achieved PASI 90 (73.3 percent) compared with patients receiving adalimumab (49.7 percent).
The medication also significantly improved psoriasis on the scalp and palms compared with adalimumab and improved the quality of life of patients.
“From Remicade and Stelara to the launch of Tremfya, Janssen has been leading the development of transformational treatments which block major causes of autoimmune disorders,” Managing Director Jenny Zheng said. “We are committed to continuing the advance of science in improving the lives of patient’s auto-immune diseases like psoriasis.”
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