A nurse by trade, Denice Raymond is well schooled on the price that multiple sclerosis exacts on the body. As an MS patient, she can also testify to the challenges of paying for drugs that might help her walk.
Raymond is prescribed a drug that retails for about $60,000 a year – and while mostly covered by Medicare – that still left her with annual out-of-pocket costs of about $6,000. Raymond, a resident of Calhoun County east of Battle Creek, was grateful to find a nonprofit organization that agreed to pay the rest.
A few months ago, her doctor suggested she take another to drug to improve her gait. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, Raymond gets around primarily by walker or wheelchair. But the new drug would have cost her several thousand dollars more a year: It was a deal-breaker.
“There is no way we could afford that. It was either buy groceries or make an attempt to walk,” Raymond said.
High cost of treating MS
The cost of MS drugs at introduction and cost today. The first of these drugs was introduced in 1993. Their date of introduction, cost then, and cost now.
- Betaseron: 1993 $11,532, Now $82,884
- Avonex: 1996 $8,723, Now $79,911
- Copaxone: 1997 $8,292, Now $84,707
- Rebif: 2002 $15,262, Now $82,153
- Tysabri: 2004 $25,850, Now $75,792
- Extavia: 2009 $32,826, Now $71,216
- Gilenya: 2010 $50,775, Now $86,637
- Aubagio: 2012 $47,651, Now $78,546
Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
This isn’t just a Michigan problem it’s a national problem and I blogged about it when a Congressional investigation was announced in August.
I don’t believe that this involves just Multiple Sclerosis drugs.