An editorialist noted that the short follow-up of subjects assigned to surgery may result in an underestimate of the costs and an exaggeration of the benefits of surgery (van Rij, 2006). By the third year, only 40 % of subjects in the study by Michaels et al assigned to surgery were assessed. The editorialist noted, however, that most recurrences are diagnosed later than 3 years. Focusing on the short-term may lead to an under-estimate of cost and an over-estimate of benefit. The editorialist stated that prospective comparisons of durability up to 5 years and longer are infrequent and yet by this time the recurrence rate may be as high as 50 %.
Teva Pharmaceuticals claims two companies are violating patents on Copaxone, glatiramer acetate for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The original suit against Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz now has expanded to include ten patents, three of which run past the expected generic drug entry of 2014…so when generics will appear is now an open question. Copaxone, approved as an orphan drug, is Teva’s flagship product, with sales of over $680 million a year. In addition to being in clinical trials for various combinations, dosage rates, and administration strategies in the mitigation of MS, the drug is now also being studied for macular degeneration and Crohn’s Disease.