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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

AbbVie secures PBS listing of first therapy for Crohn’s disease in seven years

Health Industry Hub | December 1, 2023 |

Pharma News: AbbVie’s Rinvoq (upadacitinib), a once-daily tablet, has been officially listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for adult patients grappling with severe Crohn’s disease (CD). This Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor represents the first novel molecule in seven years to secure a place on the PBS for treating CD.

Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), affects an estimated 77,000 Australians, positioning the nation among those with the highest rates of this condition globally. Studies indicate that up to 80% of diagnosed individuals may require surgery at some point in their lives, highlighting the critical need for advanced treatment alternatives beyond the conventional approaches involving intravenous infusions or subcutaneous injections.

Leanne Raven, CEO of Crohn’s & Colitis Australia, emphasised the often overlooked but profound impact of Crohn’s disease on individuals’ lives, stating, “Despite being described as an ‘invisible disease,’ the impact of Crohn’s disease cannot be overstated. The high prevalence of psychological distress has a significant impact on all aspects of life including ability to work, family, and friendships.” She stressed the importance of mental health support, noting that many affected individuals, especially those diagnosed at the peak of their lives, are not receiving the necessary assistance.

The decision to include Rinvoq on the PBS was based on results from two phase 3 induction studies. These studies revealed substantial success rates with 34% to 46% of patients achieving endoscopic responses, respectively, compared to placebo. Additionally, in a maintenance study, 28% and 41% of patients treated with 15-mg and 30-mg doses, respectively, achieved endoscopic responses at Week 52 compared to 7% of those on placebo.

Associate Professor Gregory Moore, Head of Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Monash Health Melbourne, emphasised the significance of expanding treatment options as the prevalence and severity of Crohn’s disease continue to escalate.

“As prevalence and severity of Crohn’s disease continues to rise in our community, an expansion of treatment options is crucial. The accessibility of Rinvoq for individuals living with Crohn’s disease offers the clinical community an additional avenue for managing this challenging condition. Given the variability of symptoms among individuals this makes this news especially encouraging,” he remarked.

Nathalie McNeil, Vice President and General Manager of AbbVie Australia and New Zealand, expressed the company’s dedication to supporting the IBD community.

“AbbVie has a long and established history of working collaboratively with the IBD community to help those living with the condition. We take great pride in our research and development capabilities, as they have significantly enhanced the efficiency and accessibility of bringing medicines to patients,” she affirmed.

It’s essential to note that Rinvoq is not only listed for severe Crohn’s disease but also for other chronic conditions such as severe active rheumatoid arthritis, chronic severe atopic dermatitis, severe psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis.

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