Patients use research tool to vote on Lemtrada

Patients use research tool to vote on Lemtrada
Patients use research tool to vote on Lemtrada

When an FDA advisory panel met last month to vote on whether to recommend approval of Sanofi's MS drug Lemtrada, patient opinion leaders had already voiced their view. A small majority told researchers they actively support approval of the risky drug.

The voice-response study was fielded by the firm Truvio among members of the Wego Health online community, comprised of “health activists,” consumer KOLs steeped in the needs of their communities.

Participants were asked to answer the following question, in their own words: “Imagine that you were able to attend next week's FDA advisory committee to represent the perspective of the multiple sclerosis patient community. What might you say to the panel? Would you advise them to approve this drug, or vote against it—and why? What, if anything, would you want to make sure the panel takes into consideration when making their decision?”

Within 24 hours of the questions being deployed on the Truvio platform, quantitative and qualitative responses were received from the 33 respondents. The upshot: A slim majority of patients in the Truvio study showed a willingness to accept the risk—15 respondents voted for approval, 13 against, and five unsure.

The 45% who favored approval cited patients' rights to make decisions with their doctors.

Among them were users of other MS treatments.  Among the 39% (13) of patient leaders recommending a “no” vote, most said “not now” vs. an outright denial.

Those who were undecided focused on better research—and the need for extensive physician training in risk management.