Novartis Korea announced Tuesday that its anti-arthritis drug Cosentyx (ingredient name: secukinumab) would receive insurance benefits. The Ministry of Health and Welfare보건복지부 has approved it for treating moderate to severe psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
As these three diseases are subject to insurance coverage if a therapy meets eligibility criteria, patients will be able to prescribe Cosentyx at lower medical costs through insurance benefit.
In September 2015, the ministry approved for the treatment of moderate to severe scleroderma, requiring phototherapy and systemic therapy (a drug that is absorbed and spread throughout the body). In February 2016, it approved additional indications for ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.
Patients eligible for the benefits are those with chronic severe plaque psoriasis lasting more than six months, affected in more than 10 percent of their skin, and a level 10 or higher in the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI). If Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, phototherapy, or treatment with optical therapy is administered for more than three months, the patient cannot continue treatment due to no response or side effects. Among patients with active and progressive psoriatic arthritis and those with severe active ankylosing spondylitis, one or more of the TNF inhibitors may be inadequate in response or discontinued due to side effects or contraindications.
"With a full-fledged benefit to Cosentyx, patients with vascularized psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis who require biological treatment are now able to experience effective treatment options with less financial burdens," said Peter Droeidal, vice-president of Novartis Korea한국노바티스. "Since the launch, more than 80,000 patients around the world have recovered their quality of life and are enjoying their daily lives with Cosentyx. I hope Korean patients will also benefit from expanded treatment options without giving up on treatment."