In multiple sclerosis (MS), half of affected people are unemployed within 10 years of diagnosis. The aim of this study was to assess the economic impact of MS in adult subjects with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and primary progressive MS (PPMS).
A multicenter, non-interventional, cross-sectional study was conducted. The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the 23-item Multiple Sclerosis Work Difficulties Questionnaire (MSWDQ-23) were used to assess disability and work performance, respectively. Only indirect costs were considered using the human capital method, including work costs. Professional support costs and informal caregivers’ costs were also estimated.
A total of 199 subjects were studied (mean age: 43.9 ± 10.5 years, 60.8% female, 86.4% with RRMS). Median EDSS score was 2.0 (interquartile range: 1.0–3.5) and median MSWDQ-23 total score was 31.5 (15.2, 50.0). The number of employed subjects decreased after MS diagnosis from 70.6 to 47.2%, and the number of retired people increased (23.6%). Mean age of retirement was 43.6 ± 10.5 years. Ten percent of the population had sick leaves (absenteeism was seen in 90.9% of the student population and 30.9% of the employed population). Professional support in their daily life activities was needed in 28.1% of subjects. Costs for sick leave, work absenteeism, premature retirement and premature work disability/pensioner were €416.6 ± 2030.2, €763.4 ± 3161.8, €5810.1 ± 13,159.0 and €1816.8 ± 9630.7, respectively. Costs for professional support and informal caregiving activities were €1026.93 ± 4622.0 and €1328.72, respectively.
MS is responsible for a substantial economic burden due to indirect and informal care costs, even in a population with low physical disability.