The Wide-Reaching Impact of Multiple Sclerosis DMT Wastes: Darin T. Okuda, MD; Karin Cook


The coauthors of a study assessing costs associated with unused disease-modifying therapies shared their insight into the extended effects of unused treatments in MS. [WATCH TIME: 14 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 14 minutes

“How much more do we have to do to create change? Do I have to get 10 or 20 of my best friends in MS and then we arrive at a dollar figure—$500 million—for people to start to recognize that this is a massive problem? This is the time, I think, where we’re going to start looking at things very differently.”

In a recently published dataset, Darin T. Okuda, MD, professor of neurology and director of Neuroinnovation and the Multiple Sclerosis & Neuroimmunology Imaging Program at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and colleagues looked into the process for unused disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). The effort was an attempt to identify what happened to these therapies when their prescriptions were not completely used.1

Ultimately, Okuda and colleagues launched a single-center study that included 422 patients, of whom 73.2% were female and 86.3% were White, with a mean age at disease onset of 32.9 years, mean disease duration of 12.8 years, and mean treatment duration of 2.86 years. The majority of patients were covered by commercial insurance (79.9%) or Medicare (19%). Over the course of the 1-year study, the commercial value of the retrieved unused DMTs amounted to $5,152,632.02 based on the average wholesale price (2018), with projected cost increases of approximately 10% adjusted for 2021 values.

Along with coauthor Karin Cook, senior vice president of medical strategy and clinical ethnographer, Heartbeat Medical Communications, Okuda spoke with NeurologyLive® at length about their research into the wasted costs associated with DMTs, what they've observed at their center, the wide-reaching impact of this waste on the healthcare continuum, and the future solutions that are being worked on for this problem.

SEE MORE: Wasted DMTs in Okuda's Office [Image]

1. Okuda DT, Burgess KW, Cook K, McCreary M, Winkler MD, Moog TM. Hiding in plain sight: the magnitude of unused disease-modifying therapies in multiple sclerosis and strategies for reducing the economic burden. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2022;63:103920. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2022.103920
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