Oregon Health & Science University reports via EurekAlert! that Medicare patients with multiple sclerosis face skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs for therapies due to complicated insurance rules that force them to pick up an increasing share of the cost, according to new research.
Despite recent efforts to constrain escalating costs, researchers with OHSU and the OHSU/Oregon State University College of Pharmacy in Portland, Oregon, found trends in insurance coverage that restrict access and saddle patients with increasing patient costs.
Medicare beneficiaries without low-income subsidies can expect to spend $6,894 a year out of pocket for treatment of MS, concludes a study published in the February issue of the journal Health Affairs.
“It’s a dysfunctional market that lacks the typical incentives for most other consumer products,” said lead author Daniel Hartung, Pharm.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the OHSU/OSU College of Pharmacy. “Aside from the public optics, there are few incentives for companies not to raise prices. Most intermediaries in the drug distribution channel, including drug companies, benefit from higher prices.”