Multiple Sclerosis - Development of an Australian Gold Standard Health Economics Model in conjunction with MS Research Australia

The number of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is increasing dramatically in Australia, with rapidly escalating associated costs, both direct due to medical expenses and indirect due to lost or reduced employment. Existing and upcoming treatments for MS are expensive, with current prices of up to $25,000 per patient per year and rising. Using the best available data, this study will identify the treatments that are greatest value for money for the most common form of MS (relapsing-remitting MS), with a goal to reduce wastage of limited healthcare resources. The team of researchers undertaking the project has an abundant history of successful collaboration and a world class knowledge of MS and economic modelling.

We are working with Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia to develop a "Gold Standard" health economics simulation model to assess the value for money of new interventions or medications in the treatment of MS. We will develop a validated relapsing and remitting MS disease model that simulates the progression of the most common form of MS using large patient-level datasets containing relevant risk factors and disease progression data, as well as long-term cost and quality of life/health utility outcomes. This will be supplemented by synthesis of evidence from the literature. The aim is to build a validated, transparent decision analysis tool to identify cost-effective interventions among a plethora of existing and future medications, to be made widely available to all stakeholders. By using a flexible approach to software development, a variety of perspectives will be addressed: outcomes relevant to reimbursement decision makers, clinicians, patients and society as a whole will be generated by the model.

A second aim is to apply this model to assess the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of new interventions aimed at slowing the progression of MS in patients in Australia. The model will predict rates of disease progression to increased disability as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), and the subsequent impact of this disability on medical, personal and indirect costs and quality of life. It is intended that this information be used in a decision making context which will ensure comparability between analyses, minimise uncertainty and facilitate appropriate and prompt reimbursement as appropriate. Without this model, scarce health care resources may be squandered on MS medications that are not cost-effective. Worse, patient access to cost-effective medications may be delayed by the use of inappropriate models or data inputs developed by pharmaceutical companies when submitting to reimbursement authorities.

The model will predict rates of disease progression to increased disability and the impact of this on costs and quality of life. Thus outcomes that are relevant to reimbursement decision makers, clinicians, people with MS and society as a whole will be generated by the model.

Research Groups

Related Diseases


Senior Members

  • Professor Andrew Palmer (New Star Professor)

Team Members

  • Hasnat Ahmad (Research Associate)