Korea Pfizer Pharmaceutical (CEO Oh Dong-wook) said Monday the health insurance benefit standard for its oral rheumatoid arthritis target treatment gel, Xeljanz, (ingredient: tofacitinib citrate) would expand from July 1.
The expanded benefits will be applied to patients treated with more than two kinds of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) for more than six months (more than three months each). It will most benefit patients whose treatments were ineffective or the treatment discontinued due to the side effects of the drugs.
Also, regulators have approved newly established conditions for long-term prescriptions; up to 30 days for patients with stable disease activity after 24 weeks from the first dose, while those with no side effects are allowed up to 60 to 90 days.
This increase reflects changes in domestic and foreign licensing requirements and recent shifts in the U.S. and European clinical guideline. The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) included gels in the same level of treatment as biological agents las year, and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) guidelines did so in 2015.
Also, Xeljanz recently demonstrated the non-inferiority in combination therapy with direct comparison with biological agents and added evidence of efficacy and safety. The study was published in the online edition of “The Lancet,” a global medical journal, last month.
"We are pleased that the increased benefit for Xeljanz has expanded the selection of treatments for many patients with rheumatoid arthritis who want a new oral treatment option,” said Kim Hee-yeon김희연. managing director of Inflammation & Immunization Division, Pfizer Korea한국화이자. “Pfizer Korea will continue to make efforts to improve the accessibility of patients and to provide optimal treatment environment.”
Xeljanz has been approved for the treatment of moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis in adults who did not adequately respond to MTX in April 2014 or not tolerated.
Through extensive clinical experience, it has proven its effectiveness as a single and combination therapy, and it has also been confirmed that the more Xeljanz is used in the frontline, the more efficient and profitable it is, the company said.
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