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New Survey Shows 40% of People with MS Alter or Stop Taking Medications Due to High Cost

January 13, 2020

In 2019, the median price of a disease modifying therapy (DMT) for MS was $88,000, and prices in 2020 have already increased.  A new survey released by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society today reveals how the high cost of MS medications affects the nearly 1 million Americans  living with multiple sclerosis and their families. 

The results showed 40% of people surveyed who take a DMT altered or stopped taking their medication due to the high cost, and more than half of respondents are concerned about being able to afford their DMT over the next few years. People like Holly Ridgway who was diagnosed with MS in 2011. She said her family has struggled financially because of the cost of her medications. “We don’t go to the movies, we don’t go out to dinner,” she said.  “My family shouldn’t have to choose between getting me my medications and buying groceries.”

“People with MS are paying the price, not only financially, but also physically and emotionally,” said Bari Talente, executive vice president, advocacy, National MS Society.

“When someone alters or stops the use of their DMT, it can lead to increased symptoms, relapses, stress and anxiety. We need to make these medications affordable and accessible so people already facing a chronic illness don’t have to deal with deciding between buying groceries for their families or paying for their medication,” said Talente.

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There is currently no cure, so people with MS can be on medications for years, even decades.
Other survey results include:
  • 40% experience stress or emotional impact due to high out-of-pocket costs
  • Nearly 40% of respondents have made sacrifices in their lifestyle or spending (increased use of credit cards, can’t save for future)
  • 85% think the federal government should do more to control high drug costs
  • 82% think the prices of MS DMTs are unreasonable
  • Only 11% of those surveyed could easily afford the cost of their medication without financial assistance 
“MS DMTs have changed the landscape for people with relapsing forms of MS, but these medications can’t change lives unless they are accessible,” said Talente.  “We need to find solutions.”

To hear the stories of how high medication costs have affected people living with MS click here

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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