Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease with a high socioeconomic impact. The aim of this study was to assess healthcare resources utilization and costs in a sample of patients with MS.
A retrospective, cohort study was conducted using electronic medical records from 19 primary care centres in Asturias and Catalonia, Spain. Adult patients diagnosed with MS were distributed into two groups according to the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score: 0–3.5 (no-moderate disability) and 4–9.5 (severe disability). Healthcare (direct cost) and non-healthcare costs (work productivity losses) were analysed. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for correction, p < 0.05. A multiple regression model was performed to obtain the variables associated with costs.
A total of 222 patients were analyzed; mean (SD) age: 45.5 (12.5) years, 64.4% female, and 62.2% presented a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS. Median EDSS score was 2.5, with 68.5% of the patients with no to moderate disability. The mean annual cost per MS patient was €25,103. For no-moderate and severe disability, the ANCOVA-adjusted mean annual cost was €23,157 and €29,242, respectively (p = 0.013). Direct costs and MS disease-modifying therapy accounted for 39.4% and 31.7% of the total costs, respectively. The total costs were associated with number of relapses (β = 0.135, p = 0.001), time since diagnosis (β = 0.281, p = 0.023), and age (β = 0.198, p = 0.037).
Multiple sclerosis imposes a substantial economic burden on the Spanish National Health System, patients and society as a whole. Costs significantly correlated with disease progression.