Although new agents are available for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), the panelists conclude that certain factors affect a clinician’s choice to recommend them over older, traditional options.
Because many MS agents are accompanied with serious side effects, Gary M. Owens, MD, explains that a drug that is not tolerated by a patient has both an economic and clinical burden, and states that the patient is less likely to adhere to treatment if he or she experiences adverse events.
Additionally, Leslie Fish, PharmD, disputes that there is a lack of data that reveals that newer agents are safer, which also affects a clinician’s choice to recommend certain options.
Patricia K. Coyle, MD, explains that the expensive price of these newer drugs also affects the clinician’s choice, even if a new option may be safer. Unfortunately, Dr Owens explains that it is difficult for insurers to lower the price of treatment options because they are faced with the challenge of balancing economics with clinical outcomes, and have to make decisions about the costs of agents on the basis of an entire population.