The prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), or the so-called superbug, is on the rise in hospitals and routinely encountered in the emergency room. While tests to detect MRSA are becoming more common, and hospitals are intensifying procedures to better control its spread, there remains a need to develop more effective treatment options, according to new research by GfK Market Measures.

Supporting reports of MRSA™s increasing prevalence, which over the past year garnered the public™s attention as stories of the MRSA superbug made national news headlines, almost 90 percent of physicians participating in GfK™s study confirm that the prevalence of community-acquired MRSA infections is increasing. The research revealed that almost one in five hospitalized patients treated with an injectable antibiotic is suspected of having a MRSA infection. Although adults show the greatest prevalence of MRSA cases, emergency room physicians are seeing a notable proportion of MRSA in college-aged patients.

While hospital-acquired MRSA infections have not shown as dramatic a rise as community-acquired MRSA cases, with 60 percent of physicians reporting an increase, culture testing for MRSA in the hospital setting has increased, according to almost 80 percent of physicians. In addition to more widespread testing, to better manage the spread of MRSA in the hospital setting, physicians report that hospitals are focused on isolation procedures, hand-washing protocols and screening/surveillance of certain patient types.

Treatment options for MRSA remain generally limited to two agents. Vancomycin, which has been the standard of care for quite some time, continues to be the treatment of choice by almost 80 percent of physicians. However, infectious disease specialists “ those who deal most closely with MRSA “ are increasingly turning to a newer option, Zyvox, and it is anticipated that this agent will become a more visible player for the MRSA pathogen as other specialists follow this group™s lead. Despite these treatment options, GfK™s research shows that the MRSA market remains unfulfilled, as physicians report a variety of unmet needs.

Antibiotic resistance is of particular concern and thus a key driver in physicians™ desire for a wider treatment selection. After empiric treatment, almost 50 percent of patients are shown to have an infection that would be susceptible to a narrower-spectrum antibiotic, and after culture results are received about three-quarters of these patients are switched to the new agent. However, the need to immediately treat infections in the hospital setting at the risk of septicemia and shock necessitates the continued practice of empiric treatment. Thus, physicians are seeking broad-spectrum antibiotics that are safe for empiric use. The need for additional targeted-spectrum agents, presumably to treat new variant, resistant strains, was also reported by physicians.

Cephalosporins and quinolones have been highly regarded for safety and appropriateness for empiric use. At the time we fielded this study, it was anticipated both classes would remain pillars in the physician™s antibiotic armamentarium. And that may be the case. However, the recent ˜black box™ warning applied to quinolones for risk of Achilles tendon rupture may temper their use and pave the way for Zosyn to continue its growth in the market, provided it maintains a favorable position on the hospital formulary, which its superior efficacy should help to do, said Sue Ramspacher, senior vice president and category business leader, antibiotics, GfK Market Measures. Our research with managed care organizations on injectable antibiotics shows that black box warnings are particularly influential on hospitals™ reassessment of formulary placement.

276 Hospital-Based Physicians Share Their Insights

Reflecting insights from 276 hospital-based physicians, including infectious disease specialists, internists, emergency room physicians, critical care medicine physicians and pulmonologists, fielded via Internet questionnaire in April 2008, GfK Market Measures™ 2008 Hospital Injectable Antibiotics Study provides an in-depth understanding of injectable antibiotics in the hospital setting from the perspective of physicians.

About GfK Market Measures

GfK Market Measures provides health care clients with a unique mix of custom and syndicated solutions to support the full marketing continuum, including market assessment, brand tracking, sales force effectiveness, health care consumer and product launch applications. GfK Market Measures is a member of the GfK U.S. Healthcare Companies, the largest provider of custom health care marketing research services in the United States. For further information please visit www.gfkmarketmeasures.com. For more details on this study or to schedule an interview with a GfK Market Measures executive, please contact Jessica Makovsky, group vice president of communications, GfK U.S. Healthcare Companies, at 215.283.3200 x372 or jmakovsky@gfkushc.com.

GfK Market Measures
Jessica Makovsky
Group VP Communications
215-283-3200 x372
Fax: 215-283-3201
jmakovsky@gfkushc.com

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