Cost-Effectiveness of Disease-Modifying Therapies in the Management of Multiple Sclerosis for the Medicare Population


Paul Tappenden, Health Economics and Decision Science, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK. E-mail:


Objective:  To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for the management of multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to best supportive care in the United States.

Methods:  Cost-effectiveness analysis was undertaken using a state transition model of disease natural history and the impact of DMTs for the representative Medicare beneficiary with MS. Costs and outcomes were evaluated from the health-care payer perspective using a 50-year time horizon. Natural history data were drawn from a longitudinal cohort study. The effectiveness of the DMTs was evaluated through a systematic review. Utility data were taken from a study of patients with clinically definite MS in Nova Scotia. Resource use and cost data were derived from the Sonya Slifka database and associated literature.

Results:  When based on placebo-controlled evidence, the marginal cost-effectiveness of interferon beta (IFNβ) and glatiramer acetate compared to best supportive care is expected to be in excess of $100,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. When evidence from head-to-head trials is incorporated into the model, the cost-effectiveness of 6 MIU IFNβ-1a is expected to be considerably less favorable. Treatment discontinuation upon progression to Expanded Disability Status Scale 7.0 is expected to improve the cost-effectiveness of all DMTs.

Conclusions:  Further research is required to examine the long-term clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these therapies. There is no definitive guidance in the United States concerning discontinuation of DMTs; this study suggests that the prudent use of a treatment discontinuation rule may considerably improve the cost-effectiveness of DMTs.