The main costs of care for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients continue to be driven predominantly by common MS “sequelae” — a condition that is the consequence of a previous disease or injury — according to a recent study from the BMC Health Services Research. However, in spite of cost drivers remaining steady, the expenses for MS cost of care have increased about 60% from 2006 to 2011.
The research led by Cathryn A. Carroll, Kathleen A. Fairman and Maureen J. Lage suggested that even though MS treatment costs are increasing, the proportion of MS charges due to disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) in 2011 is similar to that reported in 2004. The study performed a pharmacoeconomic analysis in order to provide an update about MS-related costs and cost drivers including DMDs.
The research team analyzed the insurance data of MS patients diagnosed more than a year prior, between the years of 2006 and 2011. To understand the MS-related charges, they studied the medical claims with MS diagnosis, as well as the medical or pharmacy claims for DMDs. All values were adjusted to 2011 using the medical care component of the consumer price index (CPI).
The patients were divided into subgroups according to the usage of DMDs (interferon [IFN] beta-1a intramuscular or subcutaneous, IFN beta-1b, glatiramer, natalizumab) and tested differently with bivariate statistics. The main conclusion of the analysis noted an increase of 60% in the CPI-adjusted MS charges, between 2006 and 2011. Among patients treated with a single DMDs in 2011, inpatient care comprised 6% of charges, outpatient care accounted for 19%, and DMDs were 75%.
These results confirm what previous studies already concluded about the significance of key disease sequelae as cost drivers. On the other hand, in 2004, DMDs represented 73% of the total costs of care, while the recent studies were limited to incident disease or treatment, or excluded DMDs from cost estimates.