The economic impact of multiple sclerosis to the patients and their families in Norway
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Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) imposes high economic costs on society, but the patients and their families have to bear some of these costs.
Objective: We aimed to estimate the magnitude of these economic costs in Norway.
Method: We collected data through a postal questionnaire survey targeting 922 MS patients in Hordaland County, western Norway, in 2013–2014; 546 agreed to participate and were included. The questionnaire included clinical and demographic characteristics, volume and cost of MS-related resource use, work participation, income, government financial support, and disability status.
Results: The mean annual total economic costs for the patients and their families were €11,603. Indirect costs accounted for 66% and were lower for women than for men. The direct costs were nearly identical for men and women. The costs increased up to Expanded Disability Status Scale score 6 except for steps between 3 and 4 where it remained nearly constant. The costs reduced from EDSS 6 to 8, and increased from 8 to 9. Lifetime costs ranged from €24,897 to €70,021 for patients with late disease onset and slow progression, and between €441,934 and €574,860 for patients with early onset and rapid progression.
Conclusion: The economic costs of MS impose a heavy burden on the patients and their families. Supplementing the information on the cost of MS to society, our finding should be included as background information in decisions on reimbursing and allocating public resources for the well-being of MS patients and their families.