New Drugs For Multiple Sclerosis Are Expensive

New biologic drugs

According to a new study, the newer generation of biologic drugs is beneficial to patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However, the medications are not cost-effective in comparison to some of the more basic treatments available, as these new drugs are found to be very expensive. However, this not means that patients suffering from multiple sclerosis must not be provided these medicines, which include interferon or Tysabri. Instead, the consensus is that focus must be on discovering new methods to reduce the cost of the new generation drugs.

Drugs delay progress of the disease

These new drugs do not cure the disease but are effective to delay the progress of the multiple sclerosis, which is the best available option in the present scenario. However, Katia Noyes, who was the lead author of this study, said these same drugs in Europe cost one-third the price at which the medicines are available in the United States. According to the study, the cost of one year of supply of a specific type of interferon cost $12000 in the United Kingdom during the year 2010. In comparison, the same drug cost $34000 in the USA.

Cost an important consideration for treatment

Being able to reduce the cost of these new medicines by roughly 67% will make the medications more affordable. This could result in administering these drugs at an earlier stage of the disease to reduce the progress of the disease. Nicholas LaRocca noted that the study was a reminder that for individuals undergoing treatment for multiple sclerosis, cost of the therapies was an important factor that was considered. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society based in New York was one of the sponsors of the study.

The study

According to Noyes, the annual cost of these medicines could be roughly $30000. Based on the estimates of the NMSS, about 400000 American citizens are affected with this disease annually, which include 85% of patients with relapsing MS that requires treatment with DMTs. The study included 844 patients with relapsing MS in the USA. The parameters of the study included cost of DMTs, hospital and office care, cost of diagnostic testing, cost of nursing homes, and the opportunity cost of taking leave from work. The finding showed that the cost of DMTs was roughly fifty percent of the total cost incurred over a ten-year period.

Effectiveness of the drugs

The health benefits seen were moderate. Patients using interferon 1b experienced a six-year relapse free period in comparison to patients who did not have a relapse for five years when using DMTs. However, the study excluded the progress of the disease and the severity of the relapse.