HealthDay News—Medicare patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) face increasing out-of-pocket costs for disease-modifying therapies, according to a study published in the February issue of Health Affairs.

Daniel M. Hartung, Pharm.D., MPH, from Oregon State University/Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues used enrollment-weighted Prescription Drug Plan Formulary files (2007 to 2016) to assess changes in pharmacy benefit coverage and cost-sharing amounts for MS disease-modifying therapies in the Medicare Part D program.

The researchers found that the rate of prior authorization use increased from 61% to 66% of plans to 84% to 90%. There was a decline from 39% to 17% in the share of plans with at least one therapy available without limitations. For 2019, the projected cumulative out-of-pocket spending was $6,894. Generic glatiramer acetate was the therapy with the highest out-of-pocket spending.

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“Policy makers need to consider both access restrictions and a growing cost-sharing burden as potential consequences of high and rising drug prices for people with MS,” the authors write.

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