Specifically, this study aims to assess the access of MS patients primarily to bDMDs and secondarily to medical care following the implementation of the new distribution system, drawing on the different obstacles presented to patients and on their correlation to the socio-economic characteristics of patients.
Access to MS medical treatment was assessed through the study questionnaire in order to identify potential factors/obstacles that could further impact on access to bDMDs for MS patients, and to assess access to MS care as a whole.
In particular, the most frequently reported obstacle encountered in accessing bDMDs was the long distance required to reach an EOPYY pharmacy, followed by the reduced accessibility of patients to their treating physician, and the difficulties in obtaining the required medical diagnosis by a hospital physician (Table 3).
The barriers to accessing bDMDs were shown to be statistically significantly more pronounced for non-Attica residents who live in urban centers of the Greek mainland, as the mean number of obstacles reported by them was 2.
Almost 98% of MS patients who experienced obstacles in accessing their medication, were eventually able to receive fully reimbursed bDMDs through the designated distribution channels (ie, EOPYY pharmacies or ESY hospitals), and therefore did not have to either pay-out-of-pocket or make any changes in their therapeutic regimen (eg, did not have to switch to another--non-bDMD--MS medicine that is available in retail pharmacies).
A number of studies have shown that there is wide and inconsistent variation in the access of MS patients to bDMDs across Europe, showing that there are still significant inequalities in access to effective MS care.
In Greece, even though the overall score for access to treatment and therapies in general is below the European average (especially in terms of psychological care and rehabilitation services), access to bDMDs has been particularly high in the past years.