A new survey has highlighted misconceptions about family planning among women with relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (RMS). We profile some of the research that has been done about MS and the company that conducted the survey; Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe.
With its European headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Teva Pharmaceutical is a leading global pharmaceutical company that delivers high-quality, patient-centric healthcare solutions used by millions of patients every day. Ranked amongst the top 15 global pharmaceutical companies on a global scale, the firm works incredibly hard to put clients and patients first, and staff are given the freedom to do so.
Adopting a creative approach, Teva produces a leading innovative treatment for multiple sclerosis and has late-stage development programs for a range of disorders of the central nervous system, including movement disorders, migraine, pain and neurodegenerative conditions.
Specialising in certain areas, the teams at Teva boast a wealth of experience, and the company is able to capitalise on its sterling reputation by seeking new of addressing unmet patient needs, which combine drug development with devices, services and technologies.
Teva is also the world’s largest generic medicines producer, leveraging its portfolio of more than 1,800 molecules to produce a broad range of products in nearly every therapeutic area.
Proving that there is a need for more information to be given to women suffering from RMS, a European survey of 1,000 women diagnosed with RMS in the last five years was funded conducted by Teva, and produced striking results.
This study has proven that there is insufficient information regarding the diagnosis of MS, when it comes to families planning their future, and as a result, Teva has joined forces with touchNEUROLOGY’, online publication partner to European Neurological Review, to publish a ‘MS and Family Planning Toolkit.’
Although MS is a chronic, progressive neurological disease most prevalent amongst women of childbearing age, women with MS are just as likely to conceive and have healthy children as anyone else, yet 88% of the women surveyed had concerns that they would not be able to have children. In addition, 62% of women with RMS who were concerned about their ability to have children, were also concerned they had the potential to pass the disease on to their children, even though MS is not considered to be hereditary.
With the survey encompassing a wide variety of issues, the survey also suggests that communications about family planning could be improved between women with RMS and their HCPs, and this is considered to be a reason why these misconceptions persist. More than 1 in 3 (35%) women indicated not having spoken with their neurologist/MS specialist about family planning, and more than half (57%) indicated not having spoken with their general practitioner (GP), despite their concerns.
Elisabeth Kasillingam, Managing Director of European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) comments on the questions that can be raised when a woman is diagnosed with MS, whilst also agreeing with the opinion that women need to be given more information about what it means for their future and the chances of having a family.
‘A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can raise questions for a woman with regards to contraception and family planning. We know that for most women with MS, the condition does not increase pregnancy complications in general.
‘Women with MS need access to qualified health care professionals, support and quality information. As an advocate for better patient care, EMSP welcomes additional information resources on these issues.’
Another finding of the survey, was that women now requested more information about what happens after their diagnosis and they wish they had more access to this material, as this would help them be better informed about their family planning choices.
Umberto Comberiati, who works in Commercial Strategy and Operations throughout Europe for Teva Pharmaceuticals tells us how the firm is always looking for new information and how to provide, whilst also stating his shock at how may misconceptions there were about the impact MS had on family planning.
‘As a whole, we are always trying to better understand all aspects of MS and we commissioned this survey to explore how women with MS cope with family planning.
‘We were really surprised that misconceptions about family planning continue to persist despite medical advances in the MS field. Also, we are committed to ensuring that women with MS and their HCPs are given access to the resources they need, and for this purpose we have partnered with touchNEUROLOGY’ to empower women with MS and their HCPs to engage about this important topic.’
Moving forward, Teva are looking to find solutions to different aspects of MS, whether it be looking at ways to try and treat the disease, or making sure that everyone is aware of the symptoms and side effects of possessing the disease. Going ahead with its family planning toolkit, Teva and its partners are looking to address the misconceptions highlighted by the survey, and they want to spark deeper dialogue between women with MS and Healthcare Partners.