More MS news articles for July 2001

MS Sufferers Take Protest to NICE

LONDON (Reuters Health) Jul 19 - Patients with multiple sclerosis protested at the annual meeting of Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in Cardiff on Wednesday that time was running out for them.

They told board members that by the time the cost-effectiveness watchdog has finished evaluating beta interferon and glatiramer acetate many patients will be too disabled to benefit from the drugs.

"It is now nearly 2 years since NICE, set up by the government to end the lottery in healthcare, was given the job of deciding whether the drugs should be used routinely in the NHS (National Health Service)," the MS Society said in a statement. "Its final decision is not now expected until late autumn and could be much later."

Claire Norman, secretary of society in Wales, said: "These drugs are licensed and have been proved in clinical trials and by patient experience to reduce MS attacks and slow the progress of the disease. It is appalling that more and more people will be denied them as NICE bungles its way on."

NICE's assessment of MS drugs has been delayed by several factors, including numerous appeals and a decision to employ new methodology. Many health authorities will not reimburse the drugs until NICE reaches a final decision.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd