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Multiple sclerosis in Canada 2011 to 2031: results of a microsimulation modelling study of epidemiological and economic impacts


Introduction — The objective of our study was to present model-based estimates and projections on current and future health and economic impacts of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Canada over a 20-year time horizon (2011–2031).

Methods — Using Statistics Canada’s Population Health Microsimulation Model (POHEM) framework, specifically the population-based longitudinal, microsimulation model named, we identified people with MS from health administrative data sources and derived incidence and mortality rate parameters from a British Columbia population-based cohort for future MS incidence and mortality projections. We also included a utility-based measure (Health Utilities Index Mark 3) reflecting states of functional health to allow projections of health-related quality of life. Finally, we estimated caregiving parameters and health care costs from Canadian national surveys and health administrative data and included them as model parameters to assess the health and economic impact of the neurological conditions.

Results — The number of incident MS cases is expected to rise slightly from 4 051 cases in 2011 to 4 794 cases per 100,000 population in 2031, and the number of Canadians affected by MS will increase from 98 385 in 2011 to 133 635 in 2031. The total per capita health care cost (excluding out-of-pocket expenses) for adults aged 20 and older in 2011 was about $16 800 for individuals with MS, and approximately $2 500 for individuals without a neurological condition. Thus, after accounting for additional expenditures due to MS (excluding out-of-pocket expenses), total annual health sector costs for MS are expected to reach $2.0 billion by 2031. As well, the average out-of-pocket expenditure for people with MS was around $1 300 annually throughout the projection period.

Conclusion — MS is associated with a significant economic burden on society, since it usually affects young adults during prime career- and family-building years. Canada has a particularly high prevalence of MS, so research such as the present study is essential to provide a better understanding of the current and future negative impacts of MS on the Canadian population, so that health care system policymakers can best plan how to meet the needs of patients who are affected by MS. These findings also suggest that identifying strategies to prevent MS and more effectively treat the disease are needed to mitigate these future impacts.



Amankwah N, Marrie RA, Bancej C, Garner R, Manuel DG, Wall R, Finès P, Bernier J, Tu K, Reimer K. Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can. 2017; 37(2):37-48.

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