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Roche launches Ocrevus for treatment of multiple sclerosis in India, ET HealthWorld


New Delhi: Roche Pharma India today announced the launch of its blockbuster breakthrough drug, Ocrevus (Ocrelizumab), for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), expanding its neurology portfolio to cater to the unmet needs of numerous patients grappling with this debilitating disease in India. The majority of individuals are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis between the ages of 20 and 40, making the disease a leading cause of non-traumatic disability in younger adults.

The company claims that it is the only monoclonal antibody drug approved for the treatment of both RRMS and PPMS with more than 10 years of clinical and real-world data that highlights:

  • Over 80 per cent of people with RRMS and over 33 per cent of people with PPMS treated with Ocrevus showed no signs of disability progression
  • Starting Ocrevus two years earlier saved almost 10 years of disease progression in people with RRMS
  • 92 per cent of people with RRMS who received Ocrevus earlier, did not need a walking aid
  • 80 per cent of people with PPMS did not require a wheelchair after 10 years of initiating and continuous therapy with Ocrevus

Patients on Ocrevus have the highest persistence and superior adherence to treatment because of its twice-yearly (once every six months) dosing which is preferable for most patients compared to more frequent (monthly) injections. ~80 per cent of patients adhered to the twice-yearly dosing of Ocrevus after their second year of treatment, compared with other DMTs.Ocrevus is the only MS treatment that has demonstrated a consistent and significant impact on slowing disability progression across the spectrum of MS. It is the first and only approved therapy for both PPMS & RMS, with more than 300000+ patients treated globally.

Commenting on the launch, V Simpson Emmanuel, CEO and Managing Director, Roche Pharma India, said, “The introduction of Ocrevus represents a pivotal moment in the management of multiple sclerosis in India. Boasting formidable efficacy, streamlined administration, and a commendable long-term safety record, Ocrevus instills fresh optimism in individuals grappling with this formidable neurological condition. As a blockbuster drug and Roche’s flagship globally, launch of Ocrevus in India underscores our commitment to providing innovative solutions to address the burden of neurological disorders, that is already one of the biggest health challenges globally and is only set to grow significantly.”

Dr (Prof) MV Padma Srivastava, Chairperson, Neurology, Paras Hospitals, said, “This latest unveiling by Roche is distinct from existing therapies for MS. In the face of ongoing advancements, there remains a critical need for medications that can effectively manage disease activity and impede disability progression. Despite seemingly stable clinical symptoms, individuals with all forms of MS encounter underlying disease activity, marked by inflammation in the nervous system and irreversible loss of nerve cells in the brain. The paramount objective in MS treatment is to promptly reduce disease activity, thereby slowing the pace of disability progression. For those with relapsing MS (RMS) who persist in experiencing disease activity and worsening disability despite available treatments, Ocrelizumab emerges as a breakthrough solution. I also strongly recommend early initiation of such treatment for better outcome.”Sandeep Chitnis, National Honorary Secretary, Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI), said, “Detecting and diagnosing MS is often challenging due to the sporadic nature of early symptoms, the presence of similar warning signs in other central nervous system diseases, and the absence of a conclusive neurological or laboratory test for MS confirmation. Initiating treatment at the earliest stages with a therapy that addresses progression, and not just relapses, becomes imperative to safeguard the physical and mental capabilities of individuals with MS. This approach aims to minimise the impact of the disease on their daily lives and extend their independence for as long as possible.”Dr Viraj Suvarna, Chief Medical Officer, Roche Pharma India, said, “The extensive clinical trial data for Ocrevus stands as the most substantial evidence for any medication in significantly slowing disability progression in primary progressive MS. Moreover, it reveals superior outcomes in terms of brain atrophy and disability progression for early initiators of Ocrevus compared to those who switched to the drug after receiving interferon treatment for relapsing MS (RMS). These findings strongly advocate for the adoption of Ocrevus as the first line of treatment and the established standard of care across the entire spectrum of MS.”

In India, the product is approved for both relapsing and primary progressive forms of multiple sclerosis.

  • Published On Feb 27, 2024 at 02:05 PM IST

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