Approaches to the management of agents used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis: consensus statements from a panel of U.S. managed care pharmacists and physicians

J Manag Care Pharm. Jan-Feb 2012;18(1):54-62. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2012.18.1.54.


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, disabling, and costly disease with several treatment options available; however, there is variability in evidence-based clinical guidelines. Therefore, payers are at a disadvantage when making management decisions without the benefit of definitive guidance from treatment guidelines.

Objective: To outline approaches for the management of agents used to treat MS, as determined from a group of U.S. managed care pharmacists and physicians.

Methods: A modified Delphi process was used to develop consensus statements regarding MS management approaches. The panel was composed of experts in managed care and included 8 pharmacy directors and 6 medical directors presently or previously involved in formulary decision making from 12 health plans, 1 specialty pharmacy, and 1 consulting company. These decision makers, who have experience designing health care benefits that include MS treatments, provided anonymous feedback through 2 rounds of web-based surveys and participated in 1 live panel meeting held in December 2010. Consensus was defined as a mean response of at least 3.3 or 100% of responses either "agree" or "strongly agree" (i.e., no panelist answered "disagree" or "strongly disagree") on a 4-item Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=agree, 4=strongly agree).

Results: After 3 phases, these managed care representatives reached consensus on 25 statements for management of patients with MS. Consistent with managed care principles, this group of managed care experts found that health plans should consider efficacy, effectiveness, and safety, as well as patient preference, when evaluating MS therapies for formulary placement. Cost and contracting should be considered if efficacy and safety are judged to be comparable between agents.

Conclusion: The consensus statements developed by a panel of managed care representatives provide some insight into decision making in formulary and utilization management of MS therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consensus*
  • Decision Making
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Delphi Technique
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Managed Care Programs / economics
  • Managed Care Programs / standards
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / economics
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / economics
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Physicians
  • United States