April 12 2004
MULTIPLE sclerosis patients are paying hundreds of pounds for a drug which is given free in larger quantities to heroin addicts.
MS sufferers claim that small doses of Naltrexone, a medicine handed out to opiate users to control their cravings, has dramatically eased their symptoms and improved their quality of life.
However, they are being forced to buy the drug privately, even though drug abusers are prescribed larger quantities on the NHS.
In Scotland, which has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, 45 patients are said to be buying the drug through Dr Bob Lawrence, a Welsh GP, at a cost of about £25 a month. Dr Lawrence said he is supplying a total of 400 patients with Naltrexone.
A campaign has been launched for trials of the drug on MS patients with
a view to allowing those with the disabling neurological condition to receive
the treatment on the NHS.
Copyright © 2004, Newsquest (Herald & Times) Limited