Ofatumumab (Arzerra), a monoclonal antibody treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, will soon be available outside the United States through compassionate use programs only. The drug will continue to be widely available in the United States.
Novartis announced in January that it would begin limiting the availability of the drug outside of the United States and would work with regulatory authorities to set up compassionate use programs for patients who are currently being treated with the drug. Patients who use these programs will receive the drug for free.
The decision was driven by the surge in CLL drugs that have become available over the last 5 years, according to Novartis.
The decision to pull the drug from international markets will not affect its use in ongoing clinical trials, particularly two phase 3 studies in relapsing multiple sclerosis and indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma.