When the disease-modifying drugs Betaferon, Rebif, Avonex and Copaxone were supported for use by people with MS in a risk-sharing scheme by the National Health Service in the UK, it was dependent on a follow up analysis of the cost effectiveness of these drugs.
The first two year analysis of data has been published in the British Medical Journal. Although too early to make definitive statements about cost effectiveness, some surprising data emerged. With over 5,500 patients with MS registered in the data monitoring scheme, 85% of them with relapsing-remitting MS, there are enough subjects in the study to come up with strong outcomes.
The study found that at the two year mark, there was no evidence that the drugs were cost effective. Worse, the data suggested that the disease-modifying drugs as a group did not delay disease progression as might have been expected. While there were many limitations, this study adds weight to the argument for a lifestyle approach to the management of MS, certainly in terms of cost effectiveness.