Pressing case for MS drug

Mary Glindon MP for North Tyneside.
Mary Glindon MP for North Tyneside.

Some of you already know about it, and if you are unlucky, some of you may find out about it for yourselves, or through family members and friends.

I refer to the scourge of multiple sclerosis (MS).

This is a neurological disease that affects more than 100,000 people nationwide – or about 154 people in the area of North Tyneside.

MS is often painful and exhausting, and it can cause problems with how people walk, move, see, think, and feel.

However, it is unpredictable and is different for everyone.

A much smaller proportion of MS sufferers have a more extreme form for which there are currently no treatments available on the NHS.

I support a new all-party parliamentary group which focuses on this ‘progressive primary’ type of MS and the case for using ocrelizumab, the only licensed treatment for it.

The regulator has rejected it on cost grounds.

However, the benefits include an average drop of around a quarter in the risk of people’s disability getting worse, and also in delaying the need for wheelchairs by seven years.

Campaigners are urging a deal with the manufacturer to make the treatment available to those who could benefit from the treatment at a price the NHS can afford.

My columns often examine rare diseases and various charities’ campaigns for better diagnosis, care, and treatment for them because such ailments are often fickle and can hit anyone.

In any case, our National Health Service should be allowed to do the very best for those who are affected by ailments wherever that is possible.