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August 26, 2019

Addressing the Rising Prices of Disease-Modifying Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis

Author Affiliations
  • 1College of Pharmacy, Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • 2Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
JAMA Neurol. 2019;76(11):1285-1287. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.2445

In 1993, the first disease modifying-therapy (DMT) for multiple sclerosis (MS), interferon beta-1b, was approved, and an untreatable disease that had disabled humans for hundreds of years became treatable. Since then, multiple drugs with varying mechanisms of action have been approved, and neurologists now have a palette of therapies that allows for individualizing therapy and effectively controlling relapsing MS in most patients. Regrettably, this achievement has come at a steep price. Interferon beta-1b entered the market with an annual price of approximately $10 920 ($19 313, inflation adjusted). While this price stunned many physicians at the time, the price for the first DMT for MS is now looked back at with nostalgia. The prices for DMTs for MS have risen dramatically over the last 15 years, far outpacing inflation, and now have a mean price of more than $86 000 per year (Figure).

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