Teva Uses Grassroot Efforts to Retain Copaxone Customers; Insurers Remain Unconvinced

In the race to switch multiple sclerosis patients to a new, patent-protected version of its top selling drug, Copaxone, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is using records from its 24-hour support hotline in the U.S. to personally contact 85,000 patients, Bloomberg reports.

In January 2014, Teva announced that it was granted FDA approval for a longer-acting version of Copaxone, enabling the drugmaker to offer Copaxone for use as a 40-milligram shot three times a week, as an option to the 20-milligram daily injection. The key difference for Teva being that the new version has patent protection until 2030.

Bloomberg refers to Teva's position - pushing to retain patients as it awaits generic versions of daily Copaxone in May - a "desperate moment" for the Israel-based company.

Because the new version won’t be able to claim any proven health benefits over the older version beyond convenience, and cheaper generics are on the way, insurers may not be willing to cover the new Copaxone.

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