BACKGROUND: In Europe, there exists considerable variability in access to care and treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). OBJECTIVES: To improve this situation, we identified key issues payers should take into account when making decisions on access to care and treatment for MS. We also give an overview of the different dimensions determining total MS burden and discuss why it is key to integrate the patient’s perspective in estimating this burden. RESULTS: The total burden of MS relates to three dimensions: clinical, humanistic and economic. Although the clinical burden is extensively studied, crucial information is still missing about MS pathophysiology, how MS-related symptoms will develop during the disease course and which patients will progress more rapidly. With regard to the humanistic burden, information on patient-reported quality of life systematically collected in clinical trials for registration purposes is still scarce. Early engagement between pharmaceutical companies, the European Medicines Agency and health technology agencies to prospectively identify key evidence needs for the regulatory and reimbursement processes is required as a first step towards more equal access to care and treatment in MS in Europe. Patients’ expectations regarding treatment outcomes should be better researched and integrated into decision-making and patients should be counselled in this process.