Healthcare Costs of Multiple Sclerosis in Korea According to the Level of Disability
Jae-Won Hyun, MD, AeRan Joung, RN, In Hye Jeong, MD, Su-Hyun Kim, MD, Ho Jin Kim, MD, PhD
Department of Neurology, Research Institute and Hospital of National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
Background: To estimate the healthcare costs of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Korea according to the
level of disability.
Methods: Data on direct medical resource consumption including admissions, clinic visits to physicians,
examinations, and medications were collected directly from patients by structured interviews.
The study randomly enrolled 47 patients from the MS clinic at National Cancer Center. They were
categorized into three groups according to the level of disability as measured by Expanded Disability
Status Scale (EDSS): mild (EDSS ≤ 3.5, n = 21), moderate (EDSS 4-6, n = 14), and severe (EDSS
≥ 6.5, n = 12) disability. Mean annual direct medical costs per patient were estimated and compared
among the three groups. Among indirect costs, the employment rate was evaluated only in those
younger than 60 years.
Results: The male:female ratio was 13:34 and the mean age was 40.6 ± 10.7 (range 22-62) years.
The mean disease duration was 7.5 ± 3.8 (range 1-16) years; the mean interval from onset of the disease
to confirmed diagnosis of MS was 26.4 ± 35.4 (range 1-132) months; and the median EDSS
was 4 (range 0-9). The estimated mean total annual cost per person was 32 ± 47 (range 2-301) million
won. The estimated mean annual costs per person with mild, moderate, and severe disability
were 15 ± 11, 39 ± 25, and 56 ± 83 million won, respectively. The employment rates of subjects
younger than 60 years were 62%, 8%, and 8% for mild, moderate, and severe disability, respectively.
Conclusions: MS has a high economic burden in Korea, even without considering the indirect costs.
Given that costs increase with the level of disability, diagnostic and therapeutic efforts should focus
on making an early diagnosis and delaying the progression of the disease to reduce the economic
burden of MS.
Journal of Multiple Sclerosis 6(1):9-13, 2015
Key Words: Multiple sclerosis, Cost, Disability