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Novartis Helps Raise Greater Awareness of Unique Challenges Faced by Women with MS

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April 22, 2016

It′s no secret that those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) encounter many challenges that can greatly impact the overall quality of life. Women, in particular, are deeply affected at work and at home.

To learn more about these challenges and help identify key areas where women may require additional support, Novartis partnered with the Working Mother Research Institute (WMRI) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) to conduct a survey of more than 1,200 working women who have been diagnosed with MS. Of those surveyed, 95% have relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

Highlights of the Women and MS survey include:

  • While 95% of survey participants are employed (77% full-time), a large majority (71%) worry about their ability to continue working. Still, 64% report feeling optimistic about their ability to continue working.
  • 40% of working women with MS say adjusting their work schedules helps them cope with their MS – of these, 38% reduce their hours and one-third work a flexible schedule.
  • 60% of women surveyed say they have tried to hide their MS symptoms at work; however, 61% say they are comfortable discussing their symptoms with their friends at work and 59% are comfortable talking to their supervisor. Additionally, only 39% say their boss is interested in helping them manage their symptoms at work.

“As a leading partner to this community, we are committed to providing resources and support to help people with MS advocate for themselves to better meet their needs at home and in the workplace,” said Christi Shaw, US Country Head, President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “We are thrilled that this report has provided our company the opportunity to help raise even greater awareness of the challenges unique to women living with MS as they work to balance the stresses of building careers and raising families.”

MS affects more than 400,000 people in the United States, with nearly four times as many women having the disease versus men. Please see the links below for the full report and additional information on the survey results.

 

Highlights from the Report

  • 60% of women surveyed say they have tried to hide their MS symptoms at work
  • 80% of women surveyed take a disease-modifying therapy
  • While 95% of survey participants are employed, a large majority (71%) worry about their ability to continue working

Read more from Novartis website

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