Amid rising prices for multiple sclerosis medicines, a new study finds that out-of-pocket costs rose substantially in recent years, especially for people with high-deductible plans. And the findings add to growing concerns of the effects of increased spending on patients.

Specifically, multiple sclerosis patients paid $15 a month average out-of-pocket costs in 2004, but that jumped to an average of $309 a month by 2016, a 20-fold increase over a 12-year period. Meanwhile, patients with a high-deductible plan paid an average of $661 per month compared to $246 a month for those not in a high-deductible plan two years ago, according to the study published in Neurology.

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  • If we had ONE national health system, we wouldn’t have to have physicians wishing they could get “patient-specific out-of-pocket cost information” because it would be the same for everyone.

  • The high costs of new drugs is being driven by exponentially increasing drug development costs,mostly due to increasing regulatory demands. Since only 2-3 out of 10 new drugs that reach the market ever recover their development costs, the best-selling ones must be priced higher to make up for them. Until soaring regulatory costs are addressed, it’s going to be tough to lower drugs prices without derailing innovation. Some of the details appear elsewhere on STAT: https://www.statnews.com/?s=Ruwart.

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