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Neurologists appeal to health secretary over withdrawal of drug for MS patients

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7449 (Published 02 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7449
  1. Jeremy Laurance
  1. 1London

Three neurologists have called on health secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene after a drug company withdrew off label use of its drug alemtuzumab for patients with multiple sclerosis ahead of trial results into its efficacy.

The doctors said they are disappointed by the actions of Genzyme, a subsidiary of the multinational drug company Sanofi. One called the company “morally corrupt” for disrupting the treatment of patients in favour of future profits.

Genzyme funded two trials of alemtuzumab that were published in the Lancet.1 2 These found that alemtuzumab dramatically cut the relapse rate compared with the current most effective treatment, interferon beta-1a.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge announced that they had found the best treatment yet for multiple sclerosis, which had a “transformative” effect on patients. Alemtuzumab could be suitable for up to two …

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