THURSDAY, April 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The total economic burden of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States in 2019 was $85.4 billion, including $63.3 billion in direct medical costs, according to a study published online April 13 in Neurology.

Bruce Bebo, Ph.D., from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in New York City, and colleagues estimated the total economic burden of MS in the United States in 2019 using a prevalence-based approach. Claims from three sources were used to obtain direct costs, and indirect costs were collected from a survey completed by 946 patients with MS (PwMS).

The researchers estimated that the total economic burden was $85.4 billion, including direct medical costs of $63.3 billion and indirect and nonmedical costs of $22.1 billion. The three largest components of the direct costs were retail prescription medications, clinic-administered medications, and outpatient care (54, 12, and 9 percent, respectively). For PwMS, the average excess per-person annual medical costs were $65,612; disease-modifying therapies (DMT) accounted for the largest proportion of this cost at $35,154 per person. Per DMT user, the cost ranged from $57,202 to $92,719. The average indirect and nonmedical costs were $18,542 and $22,875 per PwMS and per PwMS if caregivers’ costs were included, respectively. The largest components of indirect costs were lost earnings due to premature death, presenteeism, and absenteeism losses.

“The costs of MS are very high not only on a personal level but a national level as well,” Bebo said in a statement. “Our results suggested a possible role for additional policy initiatives to better support individuals and families affected, in terms of providing treatment and long-term care, work-site support, employment, and occupational training.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Bristol Myers Squibb.

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