University of Leicester eBulletin

Treating MS is Expensive, But Cost Falls Over Time

March 2003
No 73

Modelling the Cost Effectiveness of Interferon Beta and Glatiramer Acetate in the Management of Multiple Sclerosis BMJ Volume 326

The cost of drug treatment multiple sclerosis is high, but decreases with prolonged treatment up to 20 years, concludes a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers, including experts from the University of Leicester, evaluated the cost effectiveness of four drugs currently licensed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis in the United Kingdom (three interferon betas and glatiramer acetate). They assessed the effect of each drug against conventional management over 20 years using the best available evidence.

They calculated that the cost of each year of life saved or prolonged by using any of the four treatments ranged from 42,000 to 98,000. Price had a considerable effect on the cost effectiveness for each drug.

The authors stress, however, that uncertainty surrounding these estimates is substantial, largely due to the unpredictability of the disease and the difficulty in capturing all aspects of its impact on patients. Further research to establish the true impact of these treatments would be of considerable value, they conclude.

The Leicester co-authors of the study are Dr Nicola Cooper and Professor Keith Abrams of the Medical Statistics Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Leicester.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK:  For more information please contact Keith R Abrams, Professor of Medical Statistics, Medical Statistics Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Leicester, telephone +44 (0)116 252 3217, FAX +44 (0)116 252 3272, email

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