Arch Hellen Med, 29(4), July-August 2012, 448-453
Multiple sclerosis in Greece: An analysis of out-of-pocket payments
A. Vozikis, E. Sotiropoulou
OBJECTIVE Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease. It is the third most common cause of serious disability in the 20–40 year age group, and it is estimated that there are about 250,000 people in the US, 80,000 in Britain and 8,000 in Greece suffering from this disease. The scope of this study was to estimate the economic burden on Greek patients with MS, through analysis of their out-of-pocket payments and reduction of their annual income.
METHOD The study was conducted during the period March to July 2010, on a random sample of 400 patients with MS, of whom 288 (103 men and 185 women) completed the research questionnaire (response rate 72%). A reliable, weighted questionnaire, adapted to the needs of this study, was completed through personal interviews with the patients or their family members.
RESULTS The average annual out-of-pocket payments of MS patients was found to be € 8,334, varying by sex (€ 8,942 for women and € 7,241 for men) and the severity of the disease [from € 3,629 for those with a score on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)=0 to € 22,800 for those with EDSS=9]. In addition, the average annual income of the patients decreased by approximately € 2,000, mainly in the first two years following the onset of the disease.
CONCLUSIONS This study unveiled the significant economic burden on patients with MS in Greece. The findings demonstrate the imperative need for research on the social and economic costs of MS and for the introduction of an integrated support system for these patients.
Key words: Cost of illness, Health economics, Multiple sclerosis, Out-of-pocket payments.