More MS news articles for June 2001

Breakthrough medication Betaseron will be available for people with secondary-progressive MS in British Columbia

Multiple Sclerosis is Becoming an Increasingly Treatable Disease

http://www.newswire.ca/releases/May2001/31/c9924.html

MONTREAL, May 31 /CNW/ - The government of British Columbia recently announced the reimbursement of Betaseron(R) (interferon beta-1b) for people with an advanced form of multiple sclerosis, known as secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), as long as they meet the established medical criteria, most notably having had two exacerbations within the last two years. Pharmacare has reimbursed Betaseron for a different form of the disease, known as relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) since 1997.

CLINICAL RESULTS ARE IMPRESSIVE

Results of a recent European three-year clinical trial with SPMS patients are impressive. Among other findings, researchers found that treatment with Betaseron:

DECISION APPLAUDED BY DR. JOEL OGER

"The government of British Columbia has made a wise choice in confirming its policy of reimbursing Betaseron for patients who meet the established medical criteria, regardless of whether they have the relapsing-remitting or the progressive form of multiple sclerosis" said Dr. Joel Oger, Professor Of Neurology at the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre. "Having secondary-progressive MS should not be a contraindication for accessing Betaseron and I applaud B.C. Pharmacare for recognizing this in its official policy." added Dr. Oger.

MS SOCIETY SAYS QUALITY OF LIFE WILL BE IMPROVED
 
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada praised the Ministry of Health's decision. "The MS Society is pleased to see the Provincial Government respond to the needs of hundreds of members with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Officially widening access to this drug therapy will help enhance the quality of life of so many people facing the daily challenges of this often debilitating illness," says John Almond, President, MS Society of Canada, BC Division.

OVER 80,000 PEOPLE WORLDWIDE HAVE BENEFITED FROM BETASERON
 
To date, over 80,000 people worldwide have benefited from Betaseron. Berlex Canada Inc., a research-based pharmaceutical company based in Lachine, Quebec, markets Betaseron in Canada.

For further information: Francine Bastien or Jean Proulx, GGA
Communications, (514) 393-9500, cell. (514) 912-1883