North Hollywood, CALIFORNIA, USA – July 10, 2014 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) says IMNOVID® (pomalidomide), called POMALYST® in the US, is now approved for reimbursement in Sweden, Spain, and Switzerland, with decisions expected to follow in more countries in Europe. Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that typically requires multiple treatments used in sequence. Marketing authorization for IMNOVID was granted in Europe in August 2013 for use in patients after all previous treatments have failed. These new decisions mean patients in these three countries will now have access to this therapeutic through their government health programs.
“This is a critically important decision for patients in Sweden, Spain, and Switzerland,” said Brian G.M. Durie, MD, IMF Chairman and Co-Founder. “Although we have some powerful new medicines to provide extended remissions for patients with myeloma, at some point in time most patients will relapse. IMNOVID gives these patients another chance when all other options have been exhausted.”
IMNOVID is an oral medication that patients can take at home, and is an example of what medical innovation can achieve in a difficult-to-treat disease. In making its decision to include IMNOVID in its reimbursement system, the Swedish TLV (Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency) said reimbursement is appropriate because of the “high severity of the disease.”
Gösta Gahrton, MD, a preeminent Swedish hematologist and member of the IMF Scientific Advisory Board, added, “We heartily agree with the TLV when it writes, ‘the matter of urgency can be perceived as high.’ Access to this important new therapeutic may help many patients.”
“The IMF believes patients everywhere should have the same opportunity to have access to the drugs they need,” said Susie Novis, IMF President and Co-Founder. “Through our Black Swan Research Initiative®, the IMF is working to find a cure for myeloma, but in the meantime we are pleased to see that new innovative treatments are becoming available to more patients worldwide, and the IMF continues to fight for patients where access is not yet available.”
IMNOVID, in combination with a low dose steroid, has been shown to both prolong patients’ lives and keep the disease under control longer than a comparison regimen. It has been available in the United States since February 2013.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation reaches more than 350,000 members in 120 countries worldwide. A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.