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Lifetime cost of multiple sclerosis: $1.2 million per patient

In honor of World MS Day, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation has released a report on the economic impact of the disabling autoimmune disease. Based on data from 15 countries, the report shows the average lifetime cost of MS is $1.2 million per patient - and "loss of employment, or early retirement, is considered the single largest cost factor contributing to this financial cost."

Indeed, 67 percent of respondents of a separate, Web-based survey said their disease had affected their work; patients either stopped working, reduced their hours, or changed their occupation. (Fatigue and mobility related problems were cited as two common factors preventing people from working.)

As reported by WebMD, the MS organization argues these findings emphasize "the need of a concerted global effort to help people stay on the job:"

"The cost to society of losing these people permanently from the workforce is enormous," Peer Baneke, chief executive officer of MSIF, says in the news release. "There needs to be greater awareness that a diagnosis of MS does not have to mean a lifetime without work. People with MS around the world continue to work and contribute to society, but this requires some flexibility on the part of employers and support from governments."

Previously: Two different types of MS, one big step toward personalized medicine

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