Changes Needed to Improve SMA Costs: Lisa Belter, MPH


The director of research analytics at Cure SMA detailed the ways to decrease care management costs for patients with spinal muscular atrophy and the role incoming treatments can play.

"I feel like a lot of these costs are driven up by the types of specialists and types of care that you need to receive. If you’re treated earlier and are able to slow the progression of motor function, you may not have as many physical therapy costs.”

In an effort to understand and quantify the impact new therapies may have on the economic burden of patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), researchers at Cure SMA and Novartis Gene Therapies collaborated on a recently published analysis. All told, results showed a nearly 50-fold higher increase in costs for management of those with SMA compared to matched controls, raising alarm about the burden these patients and their caregivers face.

For infantile, child, and juvenile SMA, researchers saw higher mean net payments for outpatient services and claims, as well as drastic differences in mean net payments for inpatient admissions. Lead author Lisa Belter, MPH, director, research analytics, Cure SMA, feels as though earlier detection and more standardized detection of the disease should help lower these costs on a more national level.

Belter sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss how these costs can be mitigated, as well as the impact newly approved treatments can have on the care—and cost of care—of these patients.

Cure SMA, Novartis publish economic burden of SMA analysis in Journal of Market Access & Health Policy. News release. December 14, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2020.
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