June 19, 2009

Many MS patients not filling prescriptions

Twenty-seven percent of multiple sclerosis patients are declining to fill their prescriptions, U.S. researchers said.

The survey, conducted by pharmacy benefits manager Prime Therapeutics, says the survey indicates patients with an out-of-pocket expense greater than $250 were seven times more likely to decline to fill their prescription than patients with an out-of-pocket cost of $100 or less.

The study concludes that the increase in the number of patients who decline to fill their MS specialty prescriptions and do not continue taking the necessary MS medications may adversely affect long-term patient care.

The majority of those surveyed had an out-of-pocket expense of $150 or less and their decline-to-fill rate was 5.8 percent. For people with an out-of-pocket expense of greater than $150 the decline-to-fill rate was 27 percent.

The study looked at a database of 7 million members from eight commercial Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans who presented a new MS medication prescription at a pharmacy.

Multiple sclerosis specialty medications Avonex, Rebif, Betaseron or Copaxone have a typical average wholesale price of $2,500 per month supply, or $30,000 annually, Prime Therapeutics officials said.