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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Charity launches petition calling for NICE to rethink MS drug decision

The MS Society has launched a petition calling for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NHS England and drug manufacturer, Roche, to rethink NICE’s decision to reject the first treatment to be licensed for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).

NICE announced on 10 September 2018 that it would not be making ocrelizumab for PPMS available on the NHS in England and Wales, on the grounds that the drug was too expensive.

According to the charity, there are currently no disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for this type of multiple sclerosis (MS); therefore, it said it was imploring the three organisations to agree a deal to enable ocrelizumab to be made available on the NHS to anyone who could benefit.

“This is a deeply disappointing decision, denying many desperate people access to a treatment which may slow down their disability progression,” said Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society.

“MS can be painful and often exhausting, and for many people living with the primary progressive form — which currently has no treatment on the NHS — ocrelizumab offered them a shot at a better future.

“Right now our utmost priority is ensuring everyone who could benefit from this treatment is given that opportunity.”

MS affects more than 100,000 people in the UK, and one in eight people with MS are diagnosed with PPMS, meaning that approximately 625 people each year could benefit from ocrelizumab.

The petition can be found on the MS Society website.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205434

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