One-In-Three Multiple Sclerosis Patients Admit They Don’t Like Injecting Their Medication Due to Discomfort, Survey Reveals

~ Removing Injection Discomfort and Anxiety Key to Medication Adherence in Early Stages of Disease ~

TORONTO – Sept. 11, 2008 – According to a recent North American survey, almost all (97 per cent) people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are committed to controlling their lifelong condition by any means necessary.1 Nonetheless, they are faced with significant barriers that may prevent them from adhering to a treatment regimen. For example, the majority of patients (56 per cent) stated at least one barrier about injections that makes them uncomfortable; most often cited was the length of a needle (33 per cent), followed by the thickness (31 per cent).1 In addition, anxiety was the most common negative emotion around injections (61 per cent).

“The data identifies a need for an improved, patient friendly and effective device that can help patients adhere to therapy, which translates to better management of their symptoms and improved quality of life, with less chance of relapse occurring,” said Nathalie Girouard, RN, Therapeutics Nurse, Ottawa Hospital/MS Clinic. “Adherence to effective and consistent treatment in the early stages is critical in delaying the progression of the disease and providing protection against the development of definite MS.”

According to the survey, 90 per cent of people consider the strongest motivator for starting MS treatment is realizing that it will help slow disease progression.1 Patient motivation can be increased by offering solutions to the barriers, including using the thinnest needle available (70 per cent), co-pay assistance or other financial support (69 per cent), having a good injection technique (69 per cent), and using an autoinjector (55 per cent).1

New Autoinjector Responds to Patients’ Needs Bayer has launched the new Betaject Lite autoinjector and a 30 gauge needle. It has thinnest needle of all disease modifying therapies, resulting in less pain, fewer injection site reactions, less needle anxiety, and better adherence and long-term outcomes.

The new Betaject Lite autoinjector uses the effective BETASERON® (interferon beta-1b) therapy. The Betaject Lite autoinjector enhances compliance, so patients can benefit from BETASERON in delaying progression of their MS and helping to maintain their quality of life. Since BETASERON was first approved for use in Europe and the United States, this year marks 15 years of achievements for BETASERON in the treatment of patients with MS.

Eighty-two per cent of people surveyed see benefits to using a thinner needle, including less pain during injection (55 per cent), greater comfort during injection (54 per cent), less bruising (42 per cent), less pain after injection (40 per cent), less anxiety immediately before injection (34 per cent) and less impact on mood when anticipating injections (30 per cent).1

“MS is a disabling disease and it is always important to have new treatment options available to manage the complexity of this disease in the easiest most successful way possible,” said Nathalie Girouard, RN, Therapeutics Nurse, Ottawa Hospital/MS Clinic. “I am confident that the Betaject Lite autoinjector and 30 g needle will help to reduce the negative emotions and anxiety that are associated with injections, empower MS patients to better adhere to their medication regimen and take control of their lives.“

The survey also determines that nurses play a pivotal role in supporting and motivating MS patients and helping them cope with the daily challenges of their disease. Patients also value the advice and tips nurses recommend, including ways to avoid side effects and injection site reactions (68 per cent), information on financial assistance (58 per cent), offering a variety of injection techniques (54 per cent) and helping patients choose proper rotation of injection sites (49 per cent).1

About Multiple Sclerosis Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world. 2 This is a common occurrence in countries that are situated further from the equator.2 An estimated 55,000-75,000 Canadians live with multiple sclerosis. 2 It can occur at any age and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 40. 2 There is no cure for MS.2 It is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord.2 It can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.2 In its most common form, MS has well defined attacks followed by complete or partial recovery. 2

Symptoms vary from person to person and may include double or blurred vision, extreme fatigue, loss of balance, problems with coordination, stiffness of muscles, speech problems, bladder and bowel problems, short-term memory problems, and even partial or complete paralysis.2 Most people who have MS can expect to live an average or close to average life span, due to improvements in the treatment of symptoms and advancements in therapies.2

About Betaject Lite Autoinjector The Betaject Lite autoinjector is approved by Health Canada. It is simple to use, convenient and portable. Features include: a thinner needle (30 gauge instead of the previous 27 gauge); a modern ergonomic design; a built in safety lock at the firing button to reduce the risk of accidental injections; a simple loading procedure and small number of handling steps; and a visual marker that alerts the user when the injection process is over. The Betaject Lite autoinjector is to be used with a new diluent syringe that has an easy to read label, a twist off rubber cap, and larger finger grips and thumb plate designed to simplify manipulation.

BETASERON (interferon beta1-b) is indicated for the treatment of patients with a single demyelinating event accompanied by at least two clinically silent lesions typical of MS on magnetic resonance imaging, to delay progression to definite MS. It is also indicated for the reduction of the frequency of clinical exacerbations in ambulatory patients with relapsing-remitting (RR) MS, characterized by recurrent attacks of neurologic dysfunction followed by complete or incomplete recovery. In addition, BETASERON is indicated for the slowing of the progression in disability and the reduction of the frequency of clinical exacerbations in patients with secondary-progressive (SP) MS.

BETASERON is demonstrated to be highly effective in the treatment of clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) in patients with a first clinical demyelinating event suggestive of MS3,4,+ BETASERON delayed the progression to clinically definite MS (CDMS) by one year.3,4,+

About Bayer Inc. Bayer Inc. (Bayer) is a Canadian subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international research-based group with core businesses in health care, crop science, and innovative materials.

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Bayer Inc. operates the Bayer Group's HealthCare and MaterialScience businesses in Canada. Bayer Crop Science Inc., headquartered in Calgary, Alberta operates as a separate legal entity in Canada. Together, the companies play a vital role in improving the quality of life for Canadians - producing products that fight diseases, protecting crops and animals, and developing high-performance materials for applications in numerous areas of daily life. Canadian Bayer facilities include the Toronto headquarters and offices in Ottawa and Calgary.

Bayer Inc. has approximately 1,000 employees across Canada and had sales of over $986 million CDN in 2007. Globally, the Bayer Group had sales of over 32 billion Euro in 2007. Bayer Inc. invested approximately $45 million CDN in research and development in 2007. Worldwide, the Bayer Group spent the equivalent of over 2.5 billion Euro in 2007 in R&D.

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For more information or to set up an interview, please contact:

Laura Colpitts Mary-Anne Cedrone Bayer Inc. Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L) Tel: 416-240-5466 Tel: 416-847-1342

This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in our public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including our Form 20-F). The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.)

References

1 Russell Research Survey, 2008 2 MS Society of Canada. Website. Available at: http://www.mssociety.ca/en/information/faq.htm#3: 3 Kappos L et al. Treatment with interferon beta-1b delays conversion to clinically definite and McDonald MS in patients with clinically isolated syndromes. Neurology 2006; 67(7):1242-9. 4 BETASERON® Product Monograph. Bayer Inc., December 21, 2007.

+ Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, parallel-group clinical trail in patients aged 18 to 45 years with a single clinical demyelinating event suggestive of MS and an expanded disability status scale (EDSS) score of <5.0. Patients were randomized to receive either 250ug BETASERON (n=292) or placebo (n=176), administered subcutaneously every other day for a treatment duration of up to 2 years. BETASERON prolonged the time to CDMS by 363 days, from 255 days in the placebo group to 618 days in the BETASERON group (based on the 25th percentiles).


 

Posted: September 2008

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