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Approval for new MS pill ‘great news’
9:40am Friday 27th July 2012 in News
A REVOLUTIONARY pill for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers that was trialled at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital will be routinely prescribed on the NHS next week.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has published final guidance recommending Fingolimod on the NHS for some patients with a form of relapsing MS.
It makes funding for the drug mandatory for NHS trusts.
MS affects about 900 Oxfordshire people and is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the brain and spinal cord.
Some patients suffer a ‘relapse’ – a period where their symptoms become acutely worse, and a sign the disease could be progressing towards disability.
The new drug will mean instead of having twice-weekly injections to stop this progression, patients can instead opt for the pill.
Fingolimod, which originally cost almost £20,000 per patient per year, had previously been turned down by Nice, as it was not deemed cost effective.
Blackbird Leys patient Matt Bateman started taking the drug in May 2009 as part of a clinical trial in the city and said his relapses had all but stopped. After learning Nice had recommended the drug for NHS use he said it was ‘great news’.
NHS Oxfordshire said it would be routinely prescribing the drug from next Wednesday, August 1.