A recent study published in the peer-reviewed national medical journal, Neurology, found that common drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) provide only modest health gains and come at a very high cost in the United States.
Local Evergreen Healthcare neurologist Dr. Lahar Mehta co-authored the study, which was based on research led by Dr. Katia Noyes of the University of Rochester in New York.The study, “Cost-effectiveness of disease-modifying therapy for multiple sclerosis: A population based study,” found that certain disease-modifying treatments (DMT) only give patients one to two more months of good health over a 10-year period but are exorbitantly expensive. Researchers concluded that the price of the drugs would need to be reduced by 67 percent to be cost-effective and comparable to prices in other industrialized nations.
The study also pointed out that patients in the U.S. were paying close to three times more for one of the DMT drugs than those in the United Kingdom. There are currently between 250,000 and 350,000 people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with MS, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
“Washington has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the nation,” said Dr. Mehta, a neurologist at the MS Center in Evergreen’s Neuroscience Institute. “At Evergreen, we have been ramping up our research program into this debilitating disease to find new and effective medications and to improve the quality of life for MS patients everywhere.”
The researchers examined the cost effectiveness of DMTs that are used to delay long-term disability from MS and to prevent symptom flare-ups using data from a separate four-year study paid for by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They used a computer model to simulate the cost of MS over a 10-year period and compared the cost of using the DMTs to the cost of alleviating symptoms without DMTs.
Researchers at Evergreen Neuroscience Institute’s state-of-the-art DeYoung Pavilion are investigating therapeutics to help MS patients improve their mobility, reduce debilitating pain and treat MS with novel mechanisms of action.
About Evergreen Healthcare
Evergreen Healthcare, a public hospital district and community-based health care organization established in 1972, offers a breadth of services and programs that is among the most comprehensive in the region. More than 950 physicians provide clinical excellence within more than 70 specialties, including cardiac, oncology, surgical care, orthopedics, a Neuroscience Institute, Women’s and Children’s services, hospice care, pulmonary care, a Sleep Disorders Center and Home Health services care. Evergreen serves more than 400,000 residents in its primary service area of northern King and southern Snohomish counties with Evergreen Medical Group, a network of primary and urgent care practices, and Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, its main hospital campus in Kirkland, Wash. Evergreen also provides emergency care at two sites; its main hospital campus and the Evergreen Redmond Medical Center. In addition to clinical care, Evergreen offers extensive community health outreach and education programs, anchored by Evergreen Healthline, a 24/7 nurse consultation service.