The sales, manufacture and marketing of the anti-epileptic drug Mysoline (primidone) is to be transferred from its current manufacturer AstraZeneca to Acorus Therapeutics, in a move said by both companies to "secure [the] long-term supply of Mysoline to patients in countries where Mysoline is currently available through AstraZeneca".
The uncertainty over Mysoline began in June 2003 when AstraZeneca announced they would be discontinuing supplies of the drug at the end of 2003. The charity Epilepsy Action, along with health professionals, expressed serious concern about the devastating effect that such a short withdrawal time could have on the 10,000 people in the UK taking Mysoline. In response AstraZeneca then announced that supplies would be extended until the end of 2006.
In a statement confirming the latest developments, AstraZeneca and Acorus were said to be "committed" to keeping health care professionals, patient groups and other stakeholders informed about the transfer of the licence between the two companies.
Epilepsy Action commented that some patients who are prescribed Mysoline are still taking it because previous attempts to wean them off the drug led to severe difficulties.
Philip Lee, the charity's Chief Executive, said:
'The news will bring relief to thousands of people with epilepsy who depend on Mysoline. Many of our members have had a long and traumatic year waiting for a firm guarantee about the future of this drug. We hope that this news will end some of the immediate worry and anxiety but we will continue to monitor the situation. We hope that in future drug companies will consult with patients before taking this kind of decision. People's health should come first.'