The socioeconomic consequences of multiple sclerosisA controlled national study
The objective of the study was to determine healthcare costs and indirect illness costs in MS patient in a national sample. We used all national records from the Danish National Patient Registry (1998-2006), and identified 10,849 MS patients which were compared with 43,396 randomly age-, sex- and social matched citizens.
Healthcare sector costs included frequencies and costs of hospitalizations and weighted outpatient use, frequencies of visits and hospitalizations and costs from primary sectors, and the use and costs of drugs. Productivity costs (the value of lost productivity from time off from work due to illness) and all social transfer payments were also calculated.
Patients with MS had significantly higher rates of health-related contact and medication use and very low employment rate which incurred a higher socioeconomic cost.
The income level of employed MS patients was significantly lower than that of control subjects. The annual total health sector costs and productivity costs were €14,575 for MS patients vs. €1163 for control subjects (p<0.001), corresponding to an annual mean excess health-related cost of €13,413 for each patient with MS.
In addition, the MS patients received an annual mean excess social transfer income of €6843. MS present social and economical consequences more than eight years before diagnosis.
We conclude that MS causes major socioeconomic consequences for the individual patient and for society. Productivity costs are a far more important economic factor, especially due to reduced employment, which are enhanced by the early age of diagnose onset.