Questcor Pharmaceuticals Launches Acthar for the Treatment of Infantile Spasms
UNION CITY, Calif., Nov. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOR) today announced that the commercial launch is now underway for H.P. ActharÃ‚® Gel (repository corticotropin injection) as monotherapy for the treatment of Infantile Spasms (IS) in infants and children under the age of two years. This new Acthar indication was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 15, 2010.
Acthar provides an important treatment option for children suffering from IS, an ultra-rare form of childhood epilepsy that afflicts an estimated 2,000 children in the U.S. annually. While Acthar has been used by many child neurologists in the treatment of IS for more than 50 years, approval of the IS indication allows Questcor for the first time to engage in direct proactive dialogue with these physicians about Acthar dosing guidelines, adverse events and potential treatment benefits. It also allows the Company to educate healthcare providers regarding the importance of early and aggressive treatment of IS. Additionally, the Company can now provide direct support and educational materials to the parent and caregiver community about the signs and symptoms of IS and the availability of Acthar for this indication.
“With the launch of this new indication for Acthar, child neurologists and parents will now have greater access to vital information about Infantile Spasms, clear guidelines about the use of Acthar for IS, and additional support when dealing with this potentially catastrophic neurological disorder,” said Don M. Bailey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Questcor. “FDA approval allows us to begin efforts to help raise awareness of IS and to provide information and support to parents and caregivers to help ensure children with IS receive the best possible care.”
Through its newly updated product site, www.acthar.com, the Company offers an electronic version of the new Acthar Medication Guide, which was designed to provide important information to parents and caregivers of children with IS being treated with Acthar. Additionally, an interactive video and Acthar Injection Guide walk parents and caregivers through important instructions on how to give Acthar injections. The site also hosts robust disease-state information, as well as a tool that allows parents and caregivers to speak directly to a specialist who can help answer any questions about Acthar or how to administer it.
“We have heard from many parents that the fear and confusion they experience when their child is diagnosed with IS can be overwhelming,” said Steve Cartt, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Questcor. “With access to educational information and support resources, parents and caregivers can now have immediate access to the most up-to-date information available on IS, as well as to tools and administration guidelines on the appropriate use of Acthar.”
Continued Support for Patients
Questcor will now be able to build awareness of its Acthar Support & Access Program (A.S.A.P.) within the child neurology community. A.S.A.P. ensures all patients with IS who need Acthar have rapid access to the medication.
A.S.A.P. personnel work directly with insurance companies to help facilitate authorization for Acthar coverage. Because Acthar is available only through specialty pharmacies and not local retail pharmacies, A.S.A.P. coordinates the rapid shipment of Acthar to a patient’s home or other location specified by the healthcare provider. Approximately 95 percent of patients have Acthar covered by their insurance, and the remaining five percent receive free drug through the Acthar Patient Assistance Program, which is sponsored by Questcor and operated by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Questcor also works in partnership with the Chronic Disease Fund (CDF) and NORD to provide co-payment assistance to patients in need. Furthermore, in order to ensure immediate in-patient access to Acthar for patients with IS, the Company has launched an innovative program to provide free drug to children’s hospitals.
In total, the various programs sponsored by Questcor have provided over $50 million in free Acthar to needy patients and children’s hospitals since 2007.
Questcor’s goal is to ensure ready access to Acthar for all children with IS, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. The company is also committed to increasing the understanding and awareness of IS through partnering with advocacy organizations and the sponsorship of medical education and community awareness programs.
About H.P. Acthar GelÃ‚®
H.P. Acthar GelÃ‚® is a natural adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) designed to provide a prolonged release after intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. Acthar is currently approved in the U.S. for the treatment of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis in adults, and as monotherapy for the treatment of IS in infants and children under 2 years of age. It is also indicated to induce a diuresis or a remission of proteinuria in the nephrotic syndrome without uremia of the idiopathic type or that due to lupus erythematosus, as well as indicated for the treatment of several other diseases and disorders. For more information, please visit www.acthar.com.
Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company with products that help patients with serious, difficult-to-treat medical conditions. Questcor markets H.P. ActharÃ‚® Gel (repository corticotropin injection), which is approved as monotherapy for the treatment of Infantile Spasms (IS) in children under 2 years of age. Acthar is also approved for the treatment of certain disorders with an inflammatory component, for the treatment of exacerbations associated with multiple sclerosis in adults, and to induce a diuresis or a remission of proteinuria in the nephrotic syndrome without uremia of the idiopathic type or that due to lupus erythamatosus. The Company also markets DoralÃ‚® (quazepam), which is indicated for the treatment of insomnia characterized by difficulty in falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings, and/or early morning awakenings. For more information, please visit www.questcor.com.
SOURCE Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.