Medications are too often out of reach
MS medications have transformed the outlook for relapsing 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.
Studies show that early and ongoing treatment with a disease-modifying therapy is the best way to modify the course of the disease, slow the accumulation of disability and protect the brain from damage due to MS. So why are these life-changing medications too often out of reach for people who need them?
People with MS report:
- high and escalating medication prices,
- financial burden due to out-of-pocket costs,
- challenges navigating insurance to get their DMT
What does this mean for people with MS?
- 40% of people who responded to the survey are altering the use of their DMTs, with some skipping or delaying treatment or being forced through step therapy.
- 40% experience stress or other emotional impact due to high out-of-pocket costs and are making lifestyle sacrifices to be able to pay for their DMT.
- More than half are concerned about being able to afford their DMT over the next few years.
These challenges can cause delays in starting a medication or changing medications when a treatment is no longer working. Delays may result in new MS activity (risking disease progression without recovery) and cause even more stress and anxiety about the future for people already living with the complex challenges and unpredictability of MS.
People with chronic illnesses need to have confidence that they’ll be able to get the life-changing medication they need. The National MS Society's Make Medications Accessible initiative reflects the needs of the MS movement, rallying all parties involved —
- people with MS,
- pharmaceutical companies,
- insurance providers,
- pharmacy benefit managers,
- specialty pharmacies,
- healthcare providers,
- policy makers,
- and others
— to work together to focus on getting people with MS the medications they need to live their best lives. No single stakeholder has all the solutions; we can only find the solutions together.
The 2019 survey was conducted by Roscow Market Research of a nationally representative sample of people with MS in the US.
A second survey
was conducted to understand the experiences of African American and Hispanic people with MS.