Immunotherapies may increase risk of severe COVID-19 in MS patients as total MS drug market in the 7MM set to reach $32.9bn by 2028

COVID-19 presents a challenge to physicians managing patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), due to concerns about using immunotherapies to treat this neurological condition, in the face of the pandemic, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Immunotherapies are the biggest driver in the MS market and according to GlobalData’s report, ‘Multiple Sclerosis – Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2028’, drug sales for MS in 2018 were approximately $19.8bn across the seven major markets (*7MM). This is expected to grow to $32.9bn in 2028, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2%. This growth will be driven by the launch of novel, efficacious mAb injectable therapies, especially immunotherapies, the anti-CD20 mAbs, that is a milestone in the treatment of MS. Anti-CD20 therapies will be the main driver for this class, generating $11.3bn in sales and representing 87.7% of all mAb injectable therapies.

According to new guidelines for treating MS during the pandemic published by National professional bodies including the Italian Society of Neurology and the Association of British Neurologists alongside patient organisations such as the National MS Society, MS International Federation, UK MS Society and MS Australia most patients with MS will benefit more by continuing their treatment with MS drugs than stopping due to concerns over COVID-19.

However, the use of immunosuppressive therapies, the central treatment for MS, should be stopped or delayed as long as possible as it may add more risks to developing severe symptoms especially in patients with comorbidities or older age.

Alessio Brunello, Senior Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, commented: ‘‘Immunotherapies effects with alterations in the proliferation, function and number of lymphocyte, will increase the risks of viral and respiratory infections.”

Therapies with a high level of immune suppression function should be taken with caution during the pandemic with patients advised to review other therapies with immunomodulatory effects but with no risk of systemic infections.

Brunello adds: ‘‘Some of the MS immunotherapies may increase the risk of more severe infection of COVID-19 and the evaluation of risks associated with each single patient is needed when physicians administer these drugs. However, in most of patients affected by MS the benefits of continuing treatment will prevail over the risks of halting an MS therapy.”

*7MM (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan)

Information based on GlobalData’s report: ‘Multiple Sclerosis – Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2028’

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