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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Calls made for "wonder MS drug" to be made available by HSE

The drug fampridine which has a brand name Frampyra has been proven to increase the mobility of sufferers.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Graeme Roy

THE HSE HAS been urged to make a “wonder drug” available to sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis.

The drug fampridine which has a brand name Frampyra has been available to a number of sufferers for free for the past two years.

However, this will end in June, leaving some sufferers facing a bill of €500 a month.

The HSE says that the drug is not on the General Medical Scheme because manufacturer Biogen Idec could not justify the prices in order to be refunded.

Tom Curran, whose partner Marie Fleming died after a long battle with MS, called for the drug to be made available.

““How much is a person’s life worth? How much is the benefit of something like this to people? Not only will it help them and will it relieve their symptoms but they can stay a productive part of society,” argued Curran.

They can still work. They can still contribute to society and they’re not dependent on the state then for assistance so its saving in the long run, it’s not just a cost.

Yesterday, Fine Gael TDs and members of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Jerry Buttimer and Regina Doherty, urged the HSE to take action to ensure MS patients can continue to receive the drug, which is significantly improving their condition.

Speaking after they met with MS sufferers using the drug, Buttimer said: ‘The use of the drug fampridine has had a huge impact on these patients’ lives. It helps MS sufferers with their mobility and walking speed, and also has an impact on hand function, allowing those with the disease to carry out routine functions much more easily’.

Doherty echoed that, saying the drug had increased the quality of life for sufferers.

“I was struck by just how big a difference this new drug is making to those suffering with MS. It is not suitable for every MS patient; in fact it is only effective for about one in three of those with the disease.

“But for those for whom it is effective, their quality of living is vastly improved.”

Read: Cannabis helped Marie Fleming ‘in lots of ways that prescribed drugs weren’t able to’

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