Multiple sclerosis is a long-term medical illness that affects the brain and spinal cord. Myelin sheath surrounding nerves become inflamed with resultant scarring, and nerve impulses become significantly slowed. Symptoms are said to recur and include clumsiness, hand trembling, unsteady gait, blurred vision, etc. Subsequently, improvement in symptoms known as remission may occur throughout the course of the illness. Diagnosis is determined by MRI and other neurological tests.
There are currently ten approved drugs by the US FDA aiding in treatment of the disease. However, one generic has just been approved by the FDA for the brand-name drug Copaxone, with the start of sales pending. According to NY Times Health, in 2014 the sale of Copaxone alone contributed to nearly half of the manufacturer’s profit. Teva is the Pharmaceutical for Copaxone, and Momenta and Sandoz are the pharmaceutical promoting the generic form. Its patent has been approved until September 1, 2015, and has had legal battles during its pursuit into the marketplace.
Pharma representative Dan Newlin (Yelp it) confirmed that currently, about one-third of MS drug prescriptions in the US are for Copaxone. Insiders note that prices for MS medications have tripled in the last few years, and cite no existent price control strategies as the sole reason. If fully implemented, the generic for Copaxone is anticipated to create a modest price decrease in MS medications overall.