Scientific publications

Epidemiology and costs of multiple sclerosis in Switzerland: an analysis of health-care claims data, 2011–2015 (Peer Review)


Autoren: Eva Blozik, Roland Rapold, Klaus Eichler, Oliver Reich

Zeitschrift: Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment



Medical therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) is expensive. Quantifying the burden of MS is fundamental for health-care planning and the allocation of resources for the management of MS. This study provides current national estimates of prevalence, incidence, mortality, and costs of MS in Switzerland using claims data between 2011 and 2015.


We analyzed health insurance claims of adult persons enrolled with a large health insurance group covering about 13% of the Swiss population between 2011 and 2015. The identification of patients with MS was based on prescription data of MS-specific medication using the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification system as proxy for clinical diagnosis. We estimated prevalence, mortality, and costs of basic health insurance between 2011 and 2015. Furthermore, incidence of MS was calculated for 2015. All results were weighted with census data to achieve an extrapolation to the Swiss general population level. Cost of illness was estimated as direct medical cost from the perspective of a Swiss health insurance using multivariate linear regression analysis.


Of the 943,639 subjects in the year 2015, 1,606 were identified as MS patients resulting in a prevalence of 190 per 100,000 (95% CI: 180-190 per 100,000). Incidence was 16 per 100,000 (95% CI: 13-19 per 100,000). According to regression analysis, the total cost of illness for basic mandatory health insurance was 26,710 Swiss Francs (CHF) (95% CI: 26,100–27,300) per person per year with the cost of medication being almost identical 26,960 CHF (95% CI: 26,170–27,800).


MS affects 10,000–15,000 persons in Switzerland, and the prevalence has increased over the last 22 years. These persons have high need and demand for health care. High costs are primarily due to expenses for medication. Given the imbalance of MS medication therapy from the perspective of basic health insurance on the disposable resources, it is crucial to increase transparency related to the volume, type, and allocation of expenses.

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