Adapted from an American Academy of Neurology story
The amount of money people pay out-of-pocket for drugs to treat neurologic conditions like peripheral neuropathy and dementia has risen sharply over 12 years, with the most dramatic increase for multiple sclerosis (MS) medications, according to a study led by Brian Callaghan, M.D., M.S., the Fovette E. Dush Associate Professor of Neurology.
Published in the May 1, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the study found that average out-of-pocket costs for people taking MS drugs were 20 times higher in 2016 than they were in 2004. The research was funded by the American Academy of Neurology.
One in six people lives with a neurologic disease or disorder. The annual cost of treating neurologic disorders in the United States is more than $500 billion.
“With many new, high-priced neurologic drugs coming to market and a recent rise in use of high-deductible insurance plans, which shift costs to patients, it is likely out-of-pocket costs will continue to increase,” said study author Callaghan. “Since previous studies have shown that high costs can create burdens such as medical debt, skipping food or other essentials or even not taking drugs as often as necessary, we wanted to see how these costs affect people with neurologic disorders, which can be complicated, chronic conditions.”
For the study, researchers examined out-of-pocket medication costs for more than 912,000 people with MS, peripheral neuropathy, epilepsy, dementia or Parkinson’s disease using a large health care claims database. Study participants were privately insured and took at least one neurologic medication. Researchers investigated the top five most commonly prescribed medications for each condition as well as any other known high-cost drugs.
Patients are paying up to 20 times more for neurological drugs since 2004, study finds (CNN)
Patients’ drug costs surge for some neurologic conditions (Reuters Health)
MS patients now pay 20 times more for drugs than a decade ago (U.S. News & World Report)