A new study about multiple sclerosis was conducted in the UK.
Four disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis — Avonex, Rebif, Betaferon, and Copaxone — are cost-effective and reduce disease progression in MS patients, especially those with relapsing-remitting disease, according to 10-year, real-world results from U.K.’s MS Risk Sharing Scheme(RSS).
But the long-term benefits observed wane over time, and suggest that better outcomes are achieved in patients who are treated earlier and have less disability.
The research, “Assessing the long-term effectiveness of interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate in multiple sclerosis: final 10-year results from the UK multiple sclerosis risk-sharing scheme,” was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The first partnership of its kind in the U.K., the RSS enabled patients to access four DMTs through the country’s National Health Service (NHS) – three formulations of interferon beta, Avonex (by Biogen), Rebif (by EMD Serono), and Betaferon (known as Betaseron in the U.S., by Bayer), and one glatiramer acetate, Copaxone (by Teva Pharmaceuticals).
With help from the MS Trust and other professional and patient groups, the scheme was established in 2002 after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concluded that, despite evidence of fewer relapses over two-to-three years, it could not recommend these four therapies due to insufficient evidence of cost effectiveness over a 20-year timeframe.
Rather, the treatments became available through the NHS after health officials reached an agreement with the therapies’ manufacturers. The scheme’s “risk” meant a shared financial risk between the NHS and the pharmaceutical companies.
A long-term monitoring study then assessed the medications’ cost-effectiveness over time. The study recruited about 5,000 patients in the U.K., who were given one of the four DMTs between 2002 and 2005, and then were followed for 10 years to compare the long-term benefits of treatment to an untreated “natural history” group of 978 patients in British Columbia, serving as controls.
|Read on: DMTs for MS Are Cost-Effective and Slow Disease Progression, 10-Year Study from UK Reports|