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Thread: Study questions cost effectiveness of MS drugs

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Default Study questions cost effectiveness of MS drugs

    This article in Web MD, August 19, discusses the high cost of MS drugs.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

  2. #2

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    Its a multi billion $ industry , were all valuable revenue objects to big pharma. They dont want simple cures or answers ... just check out LDN.
    Graham
    RRMS Diag. Dec 08 - 4yrs 9mnths after first relapse
    11 lesions to date. IFnBeta Jan 09.

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    For those of us who are on the drugs and are afraid to get off because we are living independently, and don't want to risk that this is scary. I wish I had gotten an earlier diagnosis and taken one of the drugs earlier. I have been on one for 11 years, but I am older and did not get an early diagnosis. Why can't someone get drug cost under control? This whole thing is rediculous!

    Virginia
    Virginia

  4. #4

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    Who put out this study - the insurance companies? It reads to me that they're looking to do away with reimbursing the drugs. It is scary...

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Hi newone,

    The study appeared in the medical journal Neurology. According to the WebMD article, the study was partly funded by the National MS Society.

    If anyone has access to the actual article, information about other funding sources should be stated there.

    It's fairly well established that many professional medical journal articles have financial backing from some pharmaceutical companies.

    Because of the very high cost of these drugs AND the fact that people with MS will be taking them for the rest of our lives, and our life expectancy is almost normal, the insurance coverage for them is always going to be a hot-button issue. With cutbacks happening everywhere, the insurers might just decide not to cover them or to cover them only in very specific situations.

    Just my opinion but there's no need for alarm until that news starts coming at us, though. It's just something to keep in mind so it won't be a total shock if/when there are cutbacks in coverage.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

  6. #6

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    Its not an easy comparison. Price and cost are 2 totally diffferent things. The cost of producing IFNb ( i think its actually made in the US ) is the same for everyone. The problem lies in the cost of the healthcare industry that surrounds it. Completely different here in UK as we get it free. ( no such thing as free lunch of course ) But we pay through the nose via indirect taxation. It all balances out.
    IFNb has gone generic now and Bayer lost the UK contract to Novartis in the UK , its marginally cheaper but of course must be highly profitable as the research and development and production technology has all been paid for.

    take comfort in the fact that a lot of the profits have to be re-invested back into the next big drug block buster.

    i dont know which system i would prefer , i agonies over this issue : Private sector or state ?
    both have pro's and con's.
    Graham
    RRMS Diag. Dec 08 - 4yrs 9mnths after first relapse
    11 lesions to date. IFnBeta Jan 09.

  7. #7

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    Agate and all, I've noticed drugs going up in cost precipitously, especially if they are 'brand name". Generic has not gone up at my pharmacy, but the drugs produced by "generic" are not satisfactory in all cases. I had to have Amoxycillin this summer,
    and before it agreed with me. This time, it was again generic and the only generic available at my pharma, and it tasted like garlic. I reacted badly to it and could get through only l/2 of the course, but I think it helped the infection.

    I have heard that many if not most generics (and maybe some brand) are made in China, and thus are cheap. I pay only
    $4 for a course of Amoxycillin, but it really tastes like garlic and is nauseous. The old Amoxycillin didn't taste like this.
    They are not giving us a lot of choice with many drugs--it's generic or nothing at all, and the manufacturer of the generic
    may have no competition at your pharma. My pharma can get ONLY this garlic tasting Amox, which I believe must be made in China. Insurance companies may be partly behind this (I don't know) because even if I order brand name and pay half the cost, rather than the 30% Im suppose to pay for brand name, this is MUCH more than I paid last year. The change came about a year ago, roughly estimating the time when this happened.

    I take no MS drugs. Is LDN expensive or inexpensive? I don't know as I have not tried it--I believe I could not take it with my other disease, and I cannot destroy my ability to take Demerol, the only pain med I can take, although I surely don't take it all the time.

  8. #8

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    You're right - the price just keeps going up. When I first started copaxone in 2006 the monthly price was about $1600 (My insurance at that time had a $3000 deductible and $5000 coinsurance. - so once I paid a total $8000(gulp) for medical expenses, there was no cost to me.)
    Today the price of Copaxone is about $3600 - insurance I have today has a 50% copay for prescriptions - so it costs me about $1800 per month..... My kids have different insurance - I checked the price of Copaxone that their insurer quotes - it the same $3600 per month; however, the cost (none of them have MS so don't use copaxone) under the insurance coverage they have would be $200 per month.

  9. #9

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    PS generics don't seem to work as well BUT the insurance companies won't cover many brand named drugs.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Actually there is almost unanimous agreement in the medical community that generic drugs are as good as brand-name ones. I've been keeping tabs on this question for years because I hate paying so much for drugs.

    Quite recently I heard about a couple of exceptions to this--cases where the brand-name drug was actually better than the generic--but these cases are rare.

    This article gives some good information, IMO.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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