WEDNESDAY, Jan. 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) — From 2011 to 2017, there was an increase in gross annual expenditures on multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), with increased spending mainly driven by increases in per-prescription costs, according to a study published online Jan. 15 in Neurology.

Daniel M. Hartung, Pharm.D., M.P.H., from the Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy in Portland, and colleagues used quarterly Medicaid State Drug Utilization Data from 2011 to 2017 to summarize trends in spending, use, and costs per prescription for 15 MS DMTs, including brand and generic versions of glatiramer acetate.

The researchers found that from 2011 to 2017, there was an increase in gross annual expenditures on MS DMTs from $453 million to $1.32 billion within the Medicaid program. Increases in per-prescription costs, which doubled during the study period, were the main driver of increased spending. Product-specific utilization shifted from injectable to oral DMTs, although total utilization was stable. The plurality of utilization was examined by following the effect of market entry of generic glatiramer acetate. There was an immediate increase of $441 in the cost per prescription of branded glatiramer acetate, followed by a gradual decrease of $52 per prescription over time following introduction of generic glatiramer acetate in the second quarter of 2015. Minimal changes were seen in the costs for other DMTs.

“There is an urgent need for more robust competition from generics within these MS drugs,” Hartung said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to medical finance and pharmaceutical companies.

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