How MS Patients Judge Their Treatments Differs from Doctors’ Views, Study Reports

Patricia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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MS survey

Considerable differences exist in how multiple sclerosis patients, healthcare providers and insurance companies assess the value of current MS treatments, according to a literature review study by the data analysis firm Real Endpoints.

For the study, a team of clinicians and researchers looked at more than 300 research articles, covering topics like disease heterogeneity, patient preference, and disease economics, and surveyed 90 people knowledgeable about this area: 30 MS patients, 30 insurance “payers,” and 30 neurologists treating people with MS.

The survey was performed using the RxScorecard drug-value assessment framework, an evidence-based tool that scores and compares drugs developed to treat a particular disease.

Preliminary results suggest that the population at large do not grasp the full variability in preferences and treatment value that exists between patients, payers and physicians, and the study’s authors suggest that more research is necessary.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Payers and physicians  define value differently than patients, with patients placing value a drug’s effect on symptoms and physicians and payers more focused on a treatment’s effect of disease progression, and relapses and their severity.
  • Safety issues, such as severity of a drug’s side effects and its interaction with other medications, was a bigger concern for patients than for payers and physicians.
  • Patients were more concerned with out-of-pocket costs than payers, who were more concerned about the drug’s effect on other necessary healthcare services.
  • Patients’ opinions on the value of MS therapies varied greatly, and more than those of payers or physicians.
  • MS remains a poorly understood disease because of its extreme variability in disease course and treatment response among individual patients.

The team also reported that a potential disparity might exist between judgments of value at the payer level (which can affect coverage of MS treatments) and what patients might find most valuable in their own decision-making process regarding their treatment.

This variability should be considered in healthcare decision-making, the authors added.

According to a press release, the study was funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and details documentation on its findings are expected to be released shortly.

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