Multiple Sclerosis Drug Category Heats Up; So Does Spending
MS drug spending is skyrocketing due to premium-priced new drugs and defensive price hikes across the category, making the therapeutic area a management priority for payers. Insurers are largely relying on aggressive contracting with manufacturers to manage the category, but new launches are unlikely to secure preferred formulary placement without comparative safety and efficacy data.
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Lured by the success of Abbott in rheumatology, Novartis in oncology, and Genzyme in orphan/genetic diseases, pharmaceutical manufacturers have turned their collective sights on specialist-driven markets. But payor pressure is ballooning and as examples in these hotly competitive areas demonstrate, to truly succeed in specialist markets, companies cannot rely on a ‘follower’ strategy. Instead, careful selection of indications where true innovation is possible and fostering meaningful interaction with physicians and patient communities will allow pharmaceutical companies to grow specialty franchises alongside traditional strengths.