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Study on Escalating MS Therapy Costs in the US Reported in the Journal Neurology

April 29, 2015

The journal Neurology has recently published a compelling report on a study conducted by a research team at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University that examines the pricing trajectories in the US of disease modifying therapies over the last 20 year and assesses the influence of what appear to be unexplained rising prices.

Access to affordable, high quality healthcare is essential for people with MS to live their best lives. The evidence tells us that early and ongoing treatment with an MS disease modifying therapy is vitally important to controlling disease activity, delaying the accumulation of disability and protecting quality of life. However, today’s healthcare reality is that the high cost of these important therapies prevents full access to them.

The Society is extremely frustrated and concerned by the rising costs of MS therapies and the negative impact this has on individuals’ access to the medications they need to live their best lives. People with MS must have full access to affordable health care. The Society is committed to bringing together all the stakeholders on this issue to find viable solutions to lower the overall costs of MS care and expand the medication formularies available to people with MS, which too are affected by the escalating prices.

While Society endeavors continue to advance on addressing policy and pricing issues, the Society focuses on helping to ensure that people with MS have access to the therapies they need by assisting them to tap into available options and assistance programs. Our work is grounded in our Access to High Quality Healthcare Principles, which are the foundation for all of our actions.

To establish these strategic principles, the Society convened a task force comprised of people with MS, family members, health policy experts and healthcare providers. The task force also listened to the concerns and thoughts of people with MS through extensive social media monitoring, surveys, and feedback opportunities. The principles were adopted by the Society’s National Board of Directors in November 2014.

We are currently working to understand the complexities of the healthcare system, the interrelationships and points of influence. We have explored data on the formulary restrictions, met with numerous potential partners on these issues and created an extensive database of legislation at both the state and federal levels designed to increase access to medications in order to determine the best path forward for people with MS.

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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