Societal Cost of MS 2022

In August of 2021, MS Ireland, in collaboration with Novartis launched a voluntary national survey to explore the societal cost of MS in Ireland. It was a repeat of one conducted in 2015. This was a cross-sectional, self-reported online survey aiming to evaluate the cost of MS in Ireland in 2022 and to compare the data of this survey to the 2015 data.

The survey explored a range of costs which included direct (e.g. hospitals, doctors medications), indirect (e.g. time off work, carers) and intangible costs (e.g. quality of life) as well as the costs associated with relapse.

  • The report indicates that the total annual cost of MS in Ireland is €483m, a 12% increase on the total from the 2015 study.
  • The annual cost of relapse in Ireland is estimated to be €22.7m which includes direct and indirect costs. It is up from a cost of €16.9m in 2015.
  • Medication costs and costs attributable to outpatient care contribute the largest share of direct costs, 49% and 20% respectively, while hospital/rehabilitation costs constitute a further 13%. The remaining 18% is made up of costs attributable to formal care, diagnostics, aids and adaptations and nursing home/respite car.
  • The factors contributing the largest proportion of indirect costs, were early retirement due to MS (34.8%),informal care (26.8%), presenteeism (15.6%), reduced working week (13.6%) and extra hours missed due to sick days (9.0%), depression (0.2%).
  • A significant relationship existed between type of MS and employment status. 65.6% of those with RRMS were in paid employment, while for those with SPMS (21.6%) and PPMS (34.5%), fewer were working at the time of the survey.
  • Permanent withdrawal from the workforce due to MS is also predicted by disease type. 50% of those with SPMS reported retiring as a result of their condition.  PPMS (27.0%) and RRMS subgroups (12.4%).

This study clearly indicates that MS severity is a predictor of total costs. This is in line with international literature. It highlights the importance of delaying disability progression not only as a clinical priority and for those impacted by the condition but also from an economic perspective.

The report can be accessed in full below.