More MS news articles for Jan 2002

MS Society comments on NICE MS drugs appeal decision

25 January 2002

The Multiple Sclerosis Society today (Friday, 25 January 2002) commented on the rejection of appeals against the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's verdict that the disease-modifying drugs beta interferon and glatiramer acetate should not be prescribed on the NHS.

MS Society acting chief executive, Ken Walker, said, "It is now two and a half tortuous years since the NICE appraisal began. Throughout that time, we have expressed serious concerns about the way in which it has been conducted. In particular, we have repeatedly argued that the measures of cost-effectiveness NICE has used are inappropriate for a fluctuating life-long condition like MS".

"The Department of Health has already announced that people whose neurologists believe could benefit from the drugs will now receive them as part of a long-term national study. The scheme builds on a proposal the Society put to Secretary of State Alan Milburn after it became clear NICE was likely to recommend people should be denied the only drugs which can affect the progress of this devastating disease. We expect details very shortly and are keen to see it begin as soon as possible.

"While that is good news for many people with MS, it sadly comes too late for many others who have become too disabled to qualify for the drugs while the NICE appraisal has dragged on".

"The Society recently voiced its concerns about deficiencies in the NICE process to the Health Select Committee. There is urgent need for change before treatments for other life-long conditions fall foul of NICE's deeply flawed measures of cost-effectiveness".

The MS Society has set up a special information line for enquiries about the Department of Health scheme on 020 8438 0862.


David Harrison or Adrian Ellis
Harrison Bergman Limited

020 7838 2680
07836 523495(mobile)