Major New Study Demonstrates the Economic and Quality of Life Burden of Multiple Sclerosis
Thursday June 8, 5:00 am ET
STOCKHOLM, Sweden--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 8, 2006--Findings from the largest ever study on the effects of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) indicate that as the disease progresses, it results in a growing and significant burden on patients, families, national healthcare systems and society at large. The average MS patient loses the equivalent of 3-4 months of full quality of life every year, while the economic burden of MS due to health care costs and productivity losses range from EUR 18,000 per year in early disease to EUR 62,000 per year in late disease.
The study has been published online in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. It points to the importance of treatments that will slow the progression of the disease during its early stages, thereby delaying or avoiding the accumulation of costs and burdens associated with the higher levels of MS disability.
The study, conducted by European Health Economics, involved 13,186 patients from nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom) who represented all levels of MS severity. It was conducted in collaboration with national MS societies, scores of MS clinics and leading European health economists and was funded by Biogen Idec and Elan. The questionnaire completed by the patients collected data on their utilization of healthcare services, employment and health-related quality of life.
Major study findings include:
-- Costs increase significantly with worsening disease. Patients
with severe disability from MS were found to have total costs
that are three- to four-fold those of their counterparts in
the early stages of MS disability.
-- The mean annual per patient cost was approximately EUR
18,000 for patients with mild disease, EUR 36,500 for
moderate disease and EUR 62,000 for severe disease. The
health care costs associated with an MS relapse, a period
of increased disease activity, was between EUR 2,800 and
EUR 4,000 per relapse.
-- National healthcare covered approximately half the cost of
care in most countries, with the remaining costs being
absorbed by the patients and their families.
-- The largest economic burden from MS was due to diminished
workplace productivity, representing approximately half of the
total societal cost of MS. The percentage of patients who were
employed ranged from 24 to 41%, while 33 to 45% had been
forced into early retirement.
Patient Quality of Life
-- Each year, the average MS patient was estimated to have lost
nearly one-third of a quality adjusted life year when compared
to the general population. This loss is equivalent to 3-4
months of life in perfect health each year.
-- The impact of increasing levels of MS disability on
health-related quality of life was strikingly similar across
the countries and demonstrated the significant effect of MS on
patients' physical and emotional well-being.
The full report is currently available online at http://jnnp.bmjjournals.com/cgi/rapidpd ... 6.090365v1
. It will be available soon in a printed issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disorder of the central nervous system and is the most common neurological disorder among young adults. Inflammation is thought to be a key factor in the pathophysiology of this debilitating degenerative condition. Although symptoms vary, people with MS experience fatigue, blurred vision, numbness, and poor coordination. According to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation as many as 2.5 million people suffer from MS globally.
Dr. Gisela Kobelt, +33(0) 608 0754 390
Source: European Health Economics