Natalizumab PML Update – Aug 2011

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“Can I assume that these monthly posts are now self-explanatory?”

“It now looks like the risk of getting PML on Natalizumab is decreasing with time; i.e. if you get over the first 3 years the risk seems to be getting lower. I have asked Biogen-Idec to make a detailed PML risk calculator so that we can plug in all the variables including time on treatment and get out an individual risk based on duration of treatment. I have not heard back from them yet. Do you think this will be helpful?”
CoI: Multiple

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

9 comments

  • How typical, after the we know all there is to know about CCSVI post comes the take Tysabri, it's very safe "really" post.

  • That's the true meaning of the Tysabri's companion phrase "the benefits of the medicine outweigh the risks."

    benefits=profits

  • Re: "benefits=profits"

    Yes, that is correct! Profits are what makes the world go round. As an economist, who developed MS in my late 30's, I wouldn't rely on any communist or socialist healthcare system to deliver effective treatments for MS. I suspect most people with MS are relying on the state, family or insurance to pay for their bills. Let me set the record straight most modern economies are dependent on healthcare expenditure to keep growing. Profits from Pharma companies is taxed to pay for our bills. So the more successful the Pharma industry is the better off we all are and the more likely we are to get better treatments for MS.

    Stop criticising Pharma's incentives; without them we would all be worse off.

  • One more point. Do you have a private or state pension? I have a private pension and my pension fund holds a large amount of Pharma equities. Despite having MS I am dependent in some way on Pharma to deliver the goods; better treatments for my MS and profits to pay for my retirement. That's assuming I will be alive and well enough to enjoy my pension.

  • Your analysis does not take into account the quality of Pharma products, only their growth. It seems the could very well sell poison and still be successful.

    Pharma companies are not the only companies that get taxed. Why treat them any way different than others?

  • To Anonymous who said "it's very safe "really" post."

    I am glad you think a 1 in 125 chance of getting PML is safe. At least these are figures I can understand and relate to. I must admit some of the risks seem pretty high to me. In comparison, the only information I have about vein stents or venoplasty for MS is that the procedure is safe. How safe is safe?

  • I made the "How typical, after the we know all there is to know about CCSVI post comes the take Tysabri, it's very safe "really" post.".

    I don't think Tysabri is safe and I believe the motivation underlying this probability diagram has more to do with preserving Biogen Idec's almost $25 BILLION US market cap than it has to do with ensuring quality of life for MS patients.

    And based on the difference between Biogen Idec's market cap and its $5.4 BILLION US book value, it would seem Shareholders are pretty confident the company's RECURRING revenue stream isn't likely to be threatened by a one-time cure any time soon.

    http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=BIIB&annual

    Yes, revenue pays for maintenance and management drug R&D enabling MS patients to live LONGER with their condition, but don't kid yourself, no pharma CEO would stand in front of his Board of Directors and propose spending one dollar on finding a one-time cure… eliminating the RECURRING revenue streams derived from maintenance and management drugs isn't something Shareholders want to hear!

  • I just wanted to thank you for posting such great charts! Those are so good, an example of great visual communication.

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