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Affordability of and Access to MS Medications

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What We Are Trying to Accomplish

Medications can only change lives if people can access them. Medications — and the process for getting them — must be affordable, simple and transparent. 

Leadership from all stakeholders involved — pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers, pharmacy benefit managers, specialty pharmacies, healthcare providers, policy makers, people with MS and others — must work together to ensure that people with MS have access to  the medications they need to live their best lives.

Why It’s Important

Studies show that early and ongoing treatment with a disease-modifying therapy is the best way to modify the course of the disease, prevent accumulation of disability and protect the brain from damage due to MS.

MS medications have transformed the outlook for MS over the last 20 years, yet many people living with MS cannot access the medications they need. 

Continually escalating prices have created a significant barrier to treatment, forcing higher costs and increased stress for individuals and families, causing a greater burden for people who already live with a life-altering condition.  In 2013, the average median price of MS DMTs was $60,000; in 2018, it is $80,000. Changing insurance coverage also adversely affects access to treatment for people with MS. For instance, the practice of “step therapy” is growing—which forces people to take medication that doesn’t work for them before they can “step up” to a treatment that might work. In 2005, 27% of employer-sponsored plans reported using step therapy and in 2013, the percentage has increased to 67%. 

Happening at the National Level

The Society urges Congress to pass the following slate of legislation to help make medications more affordable and the process for getting them simple and transparent:
  • Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act (S. 974/H.R. 2212)
  • Fair Accountability and Innovative Research (FAIR) Drug Pricing Act (S. 1131/H.R. 2439)
  • Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act (H.R. 2077)
  • Creating Transparency to Have Drug Rebates Unlocked (C-THRU) Act (S. 637)
For more information about these bills, read the Society’s position statement.

Take Action Now

Urge your Senators to cosponsor the Society recommended slate of legislation to help make medications more affordable and accessible. 

 

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